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A Once and Future Shoreline

Marking of the location of early Boston’s pre-colonial shoreline and an early street plan in the granite pavers on the public park between Faneuil Hall and Boston City Hall. 


The pre-landfill shoreline (c.1630) and the lot and block lines from an 1819 survey map are identified by sand-blast engravings. 


Shoreline etching made from hand-cut details based on material collected along the high tide line - sea grass, kelp, skate egg casings, sea cucumber, old rope, feathers. 


Patterns of cool gray and warm pink granite mark the plan of late 18th century streets, house lots, and blocks before the area became a pedestrian plaza.


On site there is no descriptive signage or text about this piece. Rather, the intent is to arouse the viewer’s curiosity and engage the imagination. The shoreline marking is now part of walking tours, history maps, and described in guide books.


A motivation for this project is to raise awareness that this historic shoreline may once again become the ocean edge of Boston due to rising sea levels as a result of global climate change.


Site:  West side plaza of Faneuil Hall

Boston, Massachusetts

shoreline mark-filtered.jpg
original shoreline map-filtered.jpg

Project Details


Ross Miller -  shoreline & original street marking concept, graphic layout, hand cut templates for sandblast etching of granite, site installation oversight


John Ryther -  Landscape Architect for overall Samuel Adams Park renovation, construction drawings, site construction supervision and details


General Contractor - McCourt Construction, Steve Frick, PM; 

Octavio Sousa, site management


Client - City of Boston PFD, Susan Meyers, project manager


Mary Lucking - Project assistant


Anna Davis - stencil cutting


Tom Medici - Warren Monuments

site blasting, site work & lithochrome

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