Back Bay – Item 6 of 7

Charlesbank, 1905. Courtesy Print Department.
Developed for the residents of the overcrowded West End, Charlesbank was a revolutionary space.  Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, it provided two open-air gymnasiums, free preschool daycare services, and the first sandboxes for children.  Previously located between Leverett and Cambridge Streets, the park was intended to lower the summertime death rate from cholera infantum that decimated the youth population in the area, as enlightened thinkers of the time saw parks as environmental preventatives to ill-health.  Neighborhood youngsters are seen in this 1905 photograph enjoying the park.