The Swan Boats are a welcome sight every spring. This Boston icon has been gracing the Public Garden for over 130 years. The Paget family started the tradition and still operate the business. The many photos in our archive illustrate how treasured the boats are to Boston. People on land and on water are pictured enjoying the ride and the scene. One can’t imagine overlooking the lush lagoon without the majestic swans floating serenely through the water. -Leanne Burden Seidel
William J. Ennis/Globe Staff
July 10, 1935: A group of boys watched and waved at the riders on the Swan Boats at the Public Garden.
Ed Jenner/Globe Staff
July 12, 1971 : A Swan Boat moved placidly over the Public Garden pond, far removed from the city's hustle and bustle. Construction of the John Hancock Tower can be seen in the background, but it would be five more years until the building was completed.
Boston Globe Archive
August 1938: From back to front, Captain John McArdle, Boston Mayor Maurice J. Tobin, and actress Shirley Temple took a ride on the Swan Boats during her visit to Boston.
Ed Fitzgerald/Globe Staff
May 23, 1965 : Mark Warner regaled classmates with his bravery as he tweaked the bill of the Swan Boat awaiting its turn to be fastened to the floats. The children were first-graders at the Advent School on Brimmer Street.
Steven Geovanis/Boston Globe Archive
Sept. 9, 1977: John Williams looked over a damaged Swan Boat ripped apart by vandals and left near the Charles Street entrance. Heads were cut off two of the six boats.
Laurence T. Welsh/Boston Globe Archive
April 14, 1956: Still bundled in heavy coats, Swan Boat riders waved on opening day.