During a late nineteenth century canoe craze, recreational canoeing became Boston’s hottest leisure time activity. Young lovers took advantage of the privacy and intimacy of a canoe to engage in a little bit of illicit romance, leading a humorless state police agency to ban kissing in canoes on the Charles River.
Canoes and Canoodling on the Charles River
Plan your paddling trip on the Charles River with Jake’s interactive Charles River Guide.
- This story in Collectors Weekly is where I first heard of the ban on kissing in canoes.
- An excellent article in the New England Quarterly on the kissing controversy.
- A 1903 guide to Boston that raves about Riverside and Norumbega.
- This report on Massachusetts state parks was prepared for the 1900 Paris Exposition.
- The 1902 Metropolitan Parks Commission annual report comments on canoeing along the upper Charles.
- Historic Newton discusses the rise and fall of recreational canoeing on the Charles.
- A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe invented recreational paddling.
- This souvenir pamphlet features ads and articles about boathouses, canoe makers, and recreational diversions along the Charles.
- Today, the Charles River Watershed Association protects and monitors the river’s water quality, while the Charles River Conservancy plans a swimming park in the Charles River Basin.
This Week in Boston History
- August 14, 1765: Protests begin against the Stamp Act in Boston.
- August 15, 1919: The Boston Police Department votes to unionize. (The resulting strike is the subject of Episode 28.)
- August 16, 1774: John Adams is celebrated on his way to the First Continental Congress.
- August 17, 1999: In the wake of Columbine, Massachusetts releases a youth violence reduction program.
- August 18, 1766: Boston celebrates the repeal of the Stamp Act.
- August 19, 1812: The USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere and earns the nickname “Old Ironsides.” (Rendered as a painting)
- August 20, 1942: The US Army seizes a munitions factory in South Boston.