Inspired by the Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba, this walkway was designed by landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff with the assistance of his son Sidney Shurcliff in 1933. Originally called Webster Avenue, the narrow passageway was cleared of tenement housing and substantially widened to create a direct sightline between two historic landmarks: The Old North Church and St. Stephen’s Church. The new pedestrian thoroughfare was resurfaced with red brick and bluestone arranged in repeating geometric patterns and lined by rows of shade trees. In 2019 the City of Boston, in consultation with the firm Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture, Inc., installed new lighting and paving, improved accessibility, and restored the mall’s central fountain.
Situated along Boston’s Freedom Trail, the 480-foot-long cruciform passageway, also known as the Prado, is bounded by nine-foot-high coped-brick walls that separate the space from nearby residences. An avenue of linden and poplar trees, interspersed by granite benches, runs the length of the mall, creating a rare shaded respite in Boston’s North End neighborhood. An equestrian statue of Paul Revere (1940) by Cyrus Edwin Dallin marks the mall’s primary entrance at Hanover Street. Closer to the Old North Church, where two lanterns were hung to signal the departure of British troops, a prominent Italianate circular granite fountain is set within a square demarcated in the pavement and further defined by four raised corner curbs, containing plantings within cast-iron fences. The square is edged by commemorative bas-relief plaques embedded in the surrounding brick walls.