Three new interpretive signs were installed on the Boston Harborwalk at Boston East condos along Border Street recently. The engaging interpretive signs celebrate East Boston’s remarkable waterfront history. They identify where the first clipper ship in Boston was built, where state-of-the-art marine railways were constructed and where to find the still-visible wooden tracks on which dozens of ships were once repaired, among other topics.
The new signs are the result of the initiative by former City Councilor Sal LaMattina to have quality signage along East Boston’s waterfront. A team, including landscape architects, graphic designers, property owners, and members of Boston Harbor Now and Friends of the Boston Harborwalk (FBHW) created a template for all future Harborwalk signs. Approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency, the East Boston signs are the first of dozens, using a consistent design, which will be added along Boston’s 43-mile Harborwalk.
A team of FBHW volunteers has taken on the multi-year project to provide sign content. Team members met with East Boston residents to hear their waterfront stories and did extensive research at local institutions and beyond. The content was carefully vetted by experts.
“Each sign takes about 50 to 60 hours to pull together,” explained team lead, Liz Nelson Weaver. “We have a wonderful team of people who love history and enjoy discovering the less-known stories and terrific images.”
In addition, each sign has a QR code linked to a companion website. There, residents can find Spanish translations of the sign text by East Boston resident Eugenia Corbo. The website also invites the reader to dive deeper into related topics, including the builders of the wooden ships, what happened to the craftsmen after the wooden shipbuilding industry waned, and what’s special about a marine railway.
The next group of signs—for Clippership Wharf—is currently in the design phase. The FBHW team is also partnering with the Boston Parks & Recreation Department to create signs for Langone Park in the North End.