The Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea was created by its namesake, Norman B. Leventhal. Leventhal, who is credited with defining the Boston skyline, was a notable developer and philanthropist in Boston with a passion for walking and mapping the city he loved. Leventhal recently passed away at the age of 97 but leaves an impressive legacy to the city including: Walk to the Sea, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library (a collection of 200,000 maps and 5,000 atlases for the enjoyment and education of all through exhibitions, educational programs, and a website that includes more than 5,500 digitized maps), the Norman B. Leventhal Park in Post Office Square (which used to be a horrendous above ground parking structure for 950 cars and is now an underground lot with reclaimed green space on top and one of the country’s finest examples of a public-private partnership thanks to Leventhal), South Station and Center Plaza, among others. Former Mayor Thomas Menino dedicated the Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea in 2008.
The Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea offers an interactive way to learn about Boston’s storied past while taking in the city’s breathtaking sights. The free walk, beginning at the State House on Beacon Hill and ending at the Long Wharf, spans one mile and includes Boston’s historic landmarks and skyscrapers.
The Walk to the Sea consists of ten freestanding glass panels located at the eight spots (paid for and created by Leventhal.) Beyond its informative panels, Walk to the Sea engages walkers with virtual tours of each stop with short video clips of historic information that can be accessed on their website, www.walktothesea.com.
Much of the ground the walk covers was at one point active harbor; using text along with contemporary and historic maps, photos, etchings, and paintings, the Walk to the Sea illustrates 400 years of Boston’s relationship with the sea. It also passes by the original home of Boston Latin School, Leventhal’s alma mater. The first group to walk the Walk in 2008 was a group of students from the prestigious public school.
The walk brings the past to life with stops at:
- King’s Chapel,
- Government Center,
- Old State House,
- Financial District,
- Custom House
- Rose Kennedy Greenway, and
- Long Wharf