What was that Name again? Jack?
What do Jack, Kack, Lack. Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack have in common? They are the names of the eight little ducklings following Mrs. Mallard cross the Public Gardens in Boston.
Non-Bostonians can find its location confusing. Boston Common, Boston Public Gardens, Boston Garden…what’s the difference?
Commons, Gardens and Garden
The Boston Commons is the oldest city park in the United States. It was established in 1634. Originally a pasture it became known as “Common Land”. It was used to graze local livestock until 1830. A town shepherd was paid “two shillings and sixpence per head of cowe” to tend townspeople’s livestock. In 1775 over 1000 Redcoats were camped here until they marched off to Lexington & Concord for the skirmish that became the “Shot heard ’round the World”.
The Public Garden, also known as Boston Public Garden, is a large park adjacent to the Boston Commons. Part of the Emerald Necklace system of parks, it was established in 1837 as the first public botanical garden in America. Part of the confusion between the Commons and the Gardens is that they are only separated by a street. Its easy to think of the whole area as one huge park.
The Boston Garden was a much loved venue for local sports, especially the Boston Celtics and The Boston Bruins. Famous for it’s parquet floor that favored the home team because of it’s many “dead spots”, it was eventually torn down and replaced by the big, modern T.D. Garden in 1995.
Make Way for Ducklings, Jack, Kack, Lack…
The famous duckling statue is located in the Public Gardens. It’s based on the children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings”. Mrs. Mallard has as much trouble keeping her little bronze ducklings together as a real life mother duck. The statue was first installed in 1987 but almost immediately the duckling named Quack was pilfered. In 1988 Mack was stolen but at the same time Quack was returned after an anonymous tip.
Quack was taken again in 1992, and the theft created such an outcry that buttons reading “Bring Quack Back” were sold to raise money for a replacement.
In 1999 Jack was taken! Pack flew the coop in 2009. But Boston loves its ducklings and the statue is always repaired or replaced.
Decorating the Ducks
You can often find the little duck family decked out in holiday attire, Easter Bonnets for an Easter Parade, Christmas hats and Halloween costumes. During playoffs you may find tiny ball caps and sweaters boasting team logos.
In May you can join over 1000 people on Mother’s Day for the Duckling Day Parade. The only requirement, you must be dressed as a character from the book.
Yes, Boston loves Mrs. Mallard and her 8 little ducklings, Jack, Kack, Lack. Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack!