Two sites along Boylston Street were forever changed when two bombs went off near the finish line in April 2013, changing those families connected to those lost and also the greater Boston community.
To mark that horrific event artist Eduardo Stantec worked closely with the families most affected by the bombings to come up with two markers to honor those who were lost and hurt.
The Boylston Marathon Marker Project got permission from both the Boston Arts Commission on May 8, and the Back Bay Architectural Commission (BBAC) on May 9, to move forward with installation of the two site-specific pieces of work.
Although the initial plan was to unveil the markers at the five-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, a few setbacks in design delayed the project. Now, the artist plans are to proceed with installation in mid-September to mid-October after receiving final permits.
“Boylston Street will be changed forever,” said Stantec. “This is a representation of us and what came out of the Marathon Bombings; both on the street and beyond Boylston Street was altered forever.”
The two sites represent where the two homemade bombs detonated about 210 yards apart near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring several hundred others.
Patrick Brophey, the Mayor’s Chief of Operations, said the designs were all set until the artist received a phone call from one of the families who expressed it just didn’t feel right, putting the design team back to square one.
But, Brophey said they are happy the person did so because they want to make sure the markers commemorated the event in the right way.
Site A, located close to the finish line, marks where the first victim, Kyrstle Marie Campbell, a restaurant manager from Medford, died. She is represented with one single stone in the center.
Site B, located near the Max Brenner restaurant, is where the second two victims, Liaoning Shenyang a Boston University graduate student, and 8-year-old Martin William Richard from Dorchester passed, are represented with two stones in the center.
The stones representing the victims have been harvested from meaningful spots including Harbor Island, Boston University Bridge and Franklin Park.
The design features materials from the Boston and New England region including bronze, brick and stone. The stones will range in height from three to six feet.
The first circle represents the people that perished in the bombings. The second circle represents those who were injured or directly affected by the event.
Four bronze interweaving lights are placed at each site that are 17 feet or less in height. The LED lights will have the ability to change color but, for the most part will be a soft white glow. They represent the “fragility that life is,” said Stantec.
Two cherry trees will be on either side of the sites, with the hopes they will bloom in time for the Boston Marathon.
The team is still working with the families to come up with some scripture that will run along the green granite blocks on the stones in the center of the markers.
Already in place, is a bump out of the curb that marks how those two sites have been changed.
Both sites are ADA compliant and easily accessible. There will be nothing blocking off the site from visitors.
Some BBAC Commissioners expressed concern that people might lock their bikes up to the light posts.
“We wanted it to be something people to enjoy, to teach, and feel and we thorough there was no reason to put a barrier around it,” said Brophey. “We are hoping that people recognize not to lock their bike. We are doing something that blends seamlessly with the street but also pops up – it was challenging to do both.”