An engraving of Boston Hill from the viewpoint of Bunker Hill done in 1848.
A panoramic of Boston Hill from the viewpoint of Bunker Hill taken in 2022.
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‘A wonderful view,’ and how it’s changed

See a comparison of Boston in 1848 to the city we know today

In 1907, a Globe editor stumbled across an 1848 engraving that showed the view of Boston from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. That editor had an idea: Why not take a photo of the same view now? The job of actually pulling off the photograph fell to photographer Eddie Bond, who climbed the stairs to the top of the monument with a friend. Finding the view through the windows unsatisfying, Bond slid a board out a window, then shimmied outside—suspended some 200 feet above the ground­ — while his terrified buddy braced the other end. “A wonderful view,” Bond said. Indeed it was. Bond’s photo ran on Sunday, July 28, 1907, alongside the 1848 engraving.

In January 2022, the Globe Magazine turned to a frequent contributor, photographer Aram Boghosian, to capture the same perspective on today’s city, albeit from the safety of solid ground. Boghosian launched a drone from outside the monument, and navigated it up to the height at which Bond once dangled, then used photo editing software to stitch multiple frames together.

Logan International Airport

The airport opened in East Boston in 1923 and commercial flights began in 1927. In 1943 it was named after General Edward Lawrence Logan, an accomplished military officer and politician from South Boston.

Old North Church

Built in 1723, this is Boston’s oldest surviving church building and one of the most visited historical sites on the Freedom Trail. On the evening of April 18, 1775, the church sexton and vestryman went up the steeple and held two lanterns to signal the route that British soldiers were taking to Lexington and Concord.

USS Constitution

The historic ship known as “Old Ironsides” was first launched on Oct. 21, 1797. Today it’s open to the public year-round at the Charlestown Navy Yard and remains the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat.

Great Fire of 1872

On the evening of Nov. 9, 1872, a building on the corner of Kingston and Summer streets caught on fire, and the flames quickly spread from one rooftop to another. The devastating blaze destroyed hundreds of buildings in Boston's downtown and financial district.

Boston's First Skyscraper

The Custom House Tower was built on top of the original custom house, which dates back to 1837. The tower was designed by Peabody and Stearns and was completed in 1915. It was Boston's first skyscraper and the tallest building in the city until the Prudential opened in 1964.

Rise of the Pru

The 52-story Prudential tower opened for business in 1964. It was formally dedicated the following spring.

John Hancock building

The gleaming 62-story tower at 200 Clarendon Street is 790 feet tall, making it the tallest building in New England. It was dedicated in October 1976.

Razing of the West End

One of Boston’s most densely populated and diverse neighborhoods, the West End was wiped out due to urban renewal efforts. Thousands of people were displaced when the buildings were torn down in the 1950s.

Creating the Back Bay

The Back Bay was originally a tidal body of water. Starting in 1857, trains from Needham brought in gravel and fill that was used to fill it in and create a brand new neighborhood. The massive landfilling project took decades to complete.

Old John Hancock Building

The 26-story office building at 200 Berkeley St. was completed in 1947 and stood out as the second-tallest building in Boston for many years. It used to be the headquarters of the John Hancock Life Insurance Company. The weather beacon on top of the building uses colored lights to indicate local weather conditions.

Steady blue… clear view
Flashing blue… clouds due
Steady red… rain ahead
Flashing red… snow instead

During baseball season, the flashing red light also means the Red Sox game has been postponed.

Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House was finished in 1798 and has undergone numerous additions in the centuries since. The original building — which featured a dome covered in wooden shingles, not the iconic gold leaf of today — was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, who was inspired by neoclassical and federal styles.

The Blue Hills

The tallest of the Blue Hills, Great Blue Hill, reaches 635 feet high. It features a weather observatory that was founded in 1885.

The North End

A destination for waves of German, Irish, and English immigrants long before the first Italians arrived, the North End today is known for standout Italian restaurants in a tight-knit, compact atmosphere.

Castle Island

Though the site was used for military forts since the 1600s, Fort Independence was completed by 1851 and remained in use through World War II. Today, Castle Island is a summer destination for tourists who can explore the grounds and take in views of Boston Harbor.


  • Reporters: Mike Bello, Emily Sweeney, and Christina Prignano
  • Editor: Jason Tuohey
  • Design and development: John Hancock
  • Copy editor: Peter Bailey-Wells
  • Photographer: Aram Boghosian
  • SEO: Cameron Muir
  • Audience engagement: Devin Smith and Maddie Mortell
  • Quality assurance: Justin Coronella