Thursday, January 24, 2008

300 year old milestones to Boston

Along an old stone wall in Newbury, is the first one of four milestone markers indicating it is 37 miles to Boston. On the sides there are references to Portsmouth and also Ipswich. These are beautifully carved designs made exactly three hundred years ago that we can still witness today almost as clear as then. Do you ever stop and think about how it was to travel the roads of many years ago? When I travel at times I'm thinking how easy and fast it is to get from one place to the next even if caught in a traffic jam. In some of my paintings I have used these milestone markers which were the "highway signs"of their day and a far cry from the "global positioning systems" known as GPS . These stone markers are passed by daily for all to see and I often wonder if they are ever really noticed now. I wonder too, how these were positioned, who carved them, the activity of the time putting it all together, what the travel conditions were like, how often a trip was made, the different characters, what taverns and Inns were along the road and wonder how long it took?

This is along a curve on the Boston Road with 36 miles to Boston. I almost wonder if there was a mistake carving out 30 at first and then made into a six. Notice also the different carved designs at the bottom.

The stones are all different shapes and designs carved out. This reads 35 miles to Boston.

This might be the same view on the way to Boston traveling along the marshes often flooded in the spring.

The last stone shows on the left it is 3 miles to Newburyport and on the right it is 33 miles to Boston, carved in 1708. This stone is in front of the Governor Dummer Academy in Newbury where there is a tradition of students walking around it after graduating.

There have been other articles written in magazines and books, but this set of four milestones are unique to find and perhaps you can see them as well someday....... or maybe find them in a painting I have done.

No comments: