Boston's Metropolitan Past: Baxter & Eliot's 1893 Plan






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Ideas and Prejudices of the Late Nineteenth Century

Social attitudes, intellectual currents, and popular ideas of the late nineteenth century exerted a powerful influence on planners, local government officials, and lawmakers. As much as Baxter and Eliot advanced new ideas in open space and park planning, in conservation, and in metropolitan governance, they were also a product of their time. Nationalism and reform were "the two essential currents of the 1890s." (Peterson 71) According to Warner, notions of "romantic capitalism" and the "rural ideal" also powerfully shaped the location and form of suburban development (4). Some of the major ideas, events, and publications of the period include:

* 1860 Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. coins the term "Boston Brahmin"

* 1882 First general federal immigration law passed

* 1889 North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington admitted to the Union as states

* 1890 Daughters of the American Revolution founded

* 1890 Wounded Knee massacre

* 1892 Lincoln's birthday declared a national holiday

* 1892 Sierra Club founded

* 1892 Homer A. Plessy refused to move to segregated railroad coach in New Orleans, leading to Plessy vs. Ferguson case

* 1894 Immigration Restriction League founded by Harvard students