Located in Boston’s Financial District, this triangular plot of land fronting Boston’s main post office was created in 1872. Post Office Square, as it became known, was occupied by the Mutual Life Insurance Company, which was demolished in 1945 and replaced by a three-story parking garage.
The Friends of Post Office Square, representing local civic leaders, successfully advocated for the garage’s removal in 1988 and the construction of a seven-story underground parking facility. After Skidmore, Owing & Merrill’s Boston office developed a programming and planning document, the Friends held a national competition won by the Halvorson Company, which implemented its design for the 1.7-acre park. Iterations of the Halvorson firm have been involved in ongoing improvements since 1991.
Curvilinear pathways, shaded by evergreens, maples, oaks, honey locusts, and other species, edge a large central lawn before encompassing a plaza featuring a glass-and-bronze sculptural fountain by Howard Ben Tré. A 143-foot-long vine-covered pergola supported by granite columns borders one edge of the lawn. Granite walls, lawn areas, and seasonal garden beds edge the park’s east and west perimeters. Toward the southern entrance, the lawn gives way to a second plaza containing two copper-and-glass pavilions designed by Ellenzweig, which house a café and utilites surrounded by outdoor seating. Plantings consist of more than 125 species of shrubs, perennials, and deciduous trees, including several specimens on permanent loan from the Arnold Arboretum. The plantings frame views of the surrounding cityscape while screening the garage ramps. Leventhal Park earned the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) Landmark Award in 2014.