Episode 44: Perambulating the Bounds

Since 1651, Boston has had a legal responsibility to mark and measure its boundaries every few years.  Despite advances in technology, the practice of “perambulating the bounds” means that someone has to go out and walk the town lines.  This law is one of the oldest still on the books, but when was the last time Boston perambulated its bounds?  Listen now!


Perambulating the Bounds

This Week in Boston History

  • September 4, 1841: John Quincy Adams argues against war with Britain over the Caroline Affair.
  • September 5, 1924: The “Magellans of the Sky,” a US crew attempting the first circumnavigation of the world by air, touch down in Boston.

2 thoughts on “Episode 44: Perambulating the Bounds”

  1. Dear Jack and Nikki,
    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your podcast on perambulating the bounds and my brief story.

    Probably in 1990, the late Boston City Councillor, David Scondras, was given the task of perambulating the bounds “as punishment” (don’t remember why) . David making pear juice out of pears (pun to Dorchester created Clapp Pear) made the task a Boston history lesson. He rented a bus, printed out maps and pictures, and around 30 of us went all over Boston and environs. Locals knowledgeable on Boston spoke and very interestingly so did some of the DPW engineers who actually perambulated!

    Twenty-five years later, when possible, I like traveling to border areas whether cities (Kansas City MO & KS) or the boundary marker in Williamstown for MA, VT, and NY!

    Sean Denniston (Arlington, Virginia, but from Dorchester)

    1. That’s a great anecdote about Councilor Scondras. I wish I could have been around to take the tour… it certainly wouldn’t have been a punishment to me!

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