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History Lesson: The Giant Pear

As we’ve learned in previous History Lessons, Dorchester was its own town until 1870 when it fully became part of the City of Boston. For most of its history, Dorchester consisted mainly of farms, when it became part of Boston, it only had 12,000 residents, in contrast, by 1860 the population of Boston was 177,840!

Agriculture was a big part of Dorchester’s history as was the cultivation of fruit. Did you know that in the United States pears were first sold in 1817 by Enoch Bartlett of Dorchester? The Bartlett pear, named after Enoch, is still the most popular pear in the United States! In the 1800s a Bartlett pear was cross bred with another type of pear, called a Flemish Beauty, and that led to the creation of the pear known as a “Clapp Favorite.”

The Clapp Favorite was raised by Thaddeus Clapp of Dorchester and without that pear we would not have the subject of this week’s History Lesson! If you’ve walked, biked, or driven through Edward Everett Square in Dorchester, since 2007, you’ve seen it: a 12-foot-tall bronze Clapp Favorite created by artist Laura Baring-Gould. The pear sits on land that was once farmed by the Clapp family.

The statue is an homage to Dorchester’s agricultural history. There are 10 smaller sculptures surrounding the pear that are meant to symbolize the people of Dorchester and their history; they should be experienced first-hand by a trip to the square. The square is a half mile walk from the JFK/UMASS T-stop and about an eighth of a mile walk from Andrew Station. Definitely check it out and tag us on Instagram & Twitter!

You can also visit the grave of the creator of the Clapp Favorite – Thaddeus Clapp – in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. On his tombstone? There are pears!

Image via Boston Hassle

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About the Author

Anna White

Lower End homeowner since 2005. Mom of three BPS kids. Friend to all except those who don’t clean up after their dogs and/or who put their trash out in kitchen bags (seriously, people, it’s not that hard to use a barrel). Queen of the Nerds (okay that one is only in my dreams).