The Paul Revere Mall in Boston’s North End was the sight of an inspiring community celebration on Sunday, April 29, 2012, commemorating the great American sculptor, Cyrus Dallin, his internationally known landmark Paul Revere statue and the Prado park, designed by famed landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff and architect Henry Shepley.
The public event drew hundreds of residents and visitors, featuring presentations and exhibits by the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum of Arlington, MA, the Paul Revere Memorial Association, Old North Church, Friends of The Prado, the North End Historical Society, the North End Music and Performing Arts Center and the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association.
The event comes 72 years after the original unveiling of Dallin’s Paul Revere statue on the Prado and marked by the 150th birthday of the artist. In 1883, Cyrus Dallin entered the competition for an equestrian statue of Paul Revere. He won the competition and received a contract, but four versions of his model were rejected. The fifth version was accepted in 1899, but fundraising problems delayed the project for decades. The full-size statue was unveiled in 1940 in the North End’s Prado, renamed the Paul Revere Mall.
Making the occasion especially special was participation by dozens of family members that descended from artist Cyrus Dallin and Paul Revere, including Cyrus’ granddaughters, Jean and Judith, and Paul Revere Jr., 81 (great-great-great grandson of the colonial hero). In total, there were 25 Dallin family members and three generations of Paul Reveres’ attending the celebration (Jr., III and IV). In 1940, when Dallin’s Paul Revere statue was first unveiled on the Prado, it was a 9 year-old Paul Revere, Jr. that helped pull off the sheet. Jean Dallin-Doherty, 17 years old at the time, was also there with her grandfather, Cyrus.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared “Cyrus Dallin Day” and presented a proclamation to the Dallin Family and Art Museum. Several local officials participated in the ceremony including City Councilor Sal LaMattina and State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz. Another special guest was James McGough, founder of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum in Arlington, Mass.
Representing the bookend churches of the Prado, Rev. Stephen Ayers, Old North Church Vicar, gave the invocation and Fr. Vincent Daily of St. Stephen’s Church, delivered the benediction. NEMPAC instructors and students participated in multiple musical sections through the day, led by Executive Director Rebecca Griffin. Joey Griffith, Eliot School 6th grader, sang the National Anthem and three other Eliot students (Emma Burgueno, Maya Sen-Jennings and Griffin Black) read Longfellows’s famous 1860″Paul Revere Ride.”
The event was organized by many volunteers, led by NEWRA Parks and Open Spaces co-Chairs, David Kubiak and Anne Marie Pistorio, along with Aimee Taberner, co-chair of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum.