Originally owned by William Blaxton (one of the first European settlers of the city), Boston Common was created in 1634 - making it the oldest city park in the United States. Archeological discoveries have shown that this site was used as a gathering place by local Native Americans as far back as 8500 years ago. Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony bought these fifty acres from Blaxton and used them for the grazing of cows (to this day, cows are brought to the Common for the Annual Dairy Festival and as a tribute to this past use). During the American Revolution, British soldiers used the Common as a camp. On a more grisly note, the "Old Elm Tree" in the center of the Common was used for public hangings until 1817 (the tree is now gone). Today, the Common marks the start of Boston's Freedom Trail, and is used for large scale public events (e.g. Demonstrations, Pope's Mass, etc.). Just strolling through this serene urban park during warm summer days is extremely relaxing.
Across the street from the Common is the most famous attraction in the Public Gardens; the "Make Way For Ducklings" figurines.