Wednesday, October 28, 2009

George Washington Really Did Sleep Here, Day 8

George Washington got an early start on his final full day in Boston--October 28, 1789. The president normally ate breakfast around 10 or 11 a.m. on his journey, but with a full day planned, it was an earlier first meal of the day for Washington.

Just like modern presidents, part of George Washington's itinerary included tours of thriving local businesses. (Unlike modern presidents, Washington probably wasn't wearing goggles or a hardhat as he surveyed the factories.) His first stop was to the Boston Sailcloth Manufactory, which was located near today's intersection of Tremont and Boylston Streets near Boston Common. Washington wrote in his diary that the business appeared to be "carrying on with spirit, and is in a prosperous way." Washington then visited a cotton and wool card manufacturing facility.

Having concluded his commerce inspection duties, the president hit the water. He was taken around 11 a.m. to visit a couple of French 74-gun ships anchored in Boston Harbor. Along his harbor cruise, Washington was saluted by two frigates near the waterfront and by the fort at Castle Island.

Back on the mainland after his harbor visit, Washington dined at the home of former Massachusetts Governor James Bowdoin. The house was located where the former Bellevue Hotel now stands, at the corner of Beacon and Bowdoin Streets. Washington then went, according to his diary, "to the Assembly in the evening where (it is said) there were upwards of 100 Ladies. There appearance was elegant and many of them very handsome; the Room is small but neat, & well ornamented." The reception was held at Assembly Hall, which was located near his lodgings at the intersection of Hanover and Court Streets, where City Hall Plaza stands today.

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