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Boston - Freedom Trail: Faneuil Hall | by wallyg
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Boston - Freedom Trail: Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall, part of the Boston National Historical Park and a well-known stop along the Freedom Trail, has served as a marketplace and meeting hall since 1742. Known as the "Cradle of Liberty", it was the site of several important events of the American Revolution including James Otis' re-dedication address in 1763, Samuel Adams' impassioned plea following the Boston Massacre in 1970 that eventually led to the establishment of the Committee of Correspondence here in 1772, and the first meeting in protest of the imposed tea tax in 1773 that ultimately led to the Boston Tea Party.

 

The original Hall was built by artist John Smibert in 1740–1742 in the style of an English country market, with an open ground floor and an assembly room above. The 38-pound, 52-inch gilded grasshopper weathervane on top of the building was created by silversmith Shem Drowne in 1742 and was modeled on the grasshopper weathervane on the London Royal Exchange. Funded by a wealthy Boston merchant, Peter Faneuil, who died shortly after the building was completed. Almost destroyed by a fire in 1761, it was rebuilt with funds raised by the state lottery and re-opened in 1763.

 

By 1806, the city had outgrown the hall and Charles Bulfinch was commissioned to expand the building--doubling the height and width, while managing to keep intact the walls from the original structure. Four new bays were added, to make seven in all; a third floor was added; the open arcades were enclosed; and the cupola was centered and moved to the east end of the building. Bulfinch applied Doric brick pilasters to the lower two floors, with Ionic pilasters on the third floor. This renovation added galleries around the assembly hall and increased its height. The building was entirely rebuilt in 1898–1899, of noncombustible materials. The building underwent a major internal renovation during the 1970's.

 

Faneuil Hall is now part of the larger Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which includes three long granite buildings called North Market, Quincy Market, and South Market. Its success in the late 1970s led to the emergence of similar marketplaces in other U.S. cities. Inside the Hall are dozens of paintings of famous Americans, including the mural of Webster's Reply to Hayne and Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Washington at Dorchester Heights. The first floor operates as a market, while the second floor is taken up by the Great Hall, where Boston's town meetings were once held. The third floor houses the museum and armory of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. Founded in 1638, this is the oldest military company in the US, and considered the third oldest in the world.

 

In recent history, Faneuil Hall was the home to President John F. Kennedy's last campaign speech and Senator John Kerry's concession speech in the 2004 presidential election.

 

The Marketplace fronted by Miss Anne Whitney's Samuel Adams statue on Congress Street.

 

In 2007, Faneuil Hall Marketplace was ranked #64 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.

 

In 2008, Faneuil Hall was ranked #4 in America's 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites by Forbes Traveler.

 

National Historic Register #66000368

 

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Taken on May 5, 2007