Faneuil Hall. Public Building in Boston, United States

Faneuil Hall

Public Building in Boston, United States

Boston - Freedom Trail: Faneuil Hall Marketplace Photo © Wally Gobetz

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Faneuil Hall

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Boston
	- Freedom Trail: Faneuil Hall Marketplace - Faneuil Hall
Boston - Freedom Trail: Faneuil Hall Marketplace - Faneuil Hall. Photo by Wally Gobetz
Faneuil Hall is a historic landmark in Boston, Massachusetts. Located at the waterfront and near the Government Center, it has been a meeting hall and major market place since 1742. Faneuil Hall is now part of a large festival marketplace, the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This complex includes three long buildings, South Market, Quincy Market, and North Market. This modern bustling place serves as an outdoor and indoor market and has numerous restaurants, food stalls, and food courts.

There are more than seventy retailers and forty office tenants in an area of more than 60,960 meter of retail spaces. Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of the most visited places in Boston and lies on the historic and famous Freedom Trail, a walking trail that leads past the city’s historically significant sites and buildings. It is a popular place among locals and tourists alike; people on lunch breaks often go there for a bite to eat. Each year more than 18 million people visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The combination of dozens of restaurants, shops, stores, and entertainment by street performers and musicians creates a year-round vibrant atmosphere.

Faneuil Hall used to be where people such as Samuel Adams, James Otis, and other patriots spoke to the public about independence from Great Britain. Their speeches fueled the desire of the American people to obtain independence from the Brits. President George Washington celebrated the first birthday of the United States of America in Faneuil Hall. The area is now part of the Boston National Historical Park (Wikipedia Article) and is often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Liberty’.

Boston - Freedom Trail -
	Faneuil Hall
Boston - Freedom Trail - Faneuil Hall. Photo by Wally Gobetz

History

In 1740, the merchant Peter Faneuil, who was in fact Boston’s richest merchant, announced that he would build a public market house in Boston at his own cost after the idea of constructing such a building had been discussed for a few years. He offered it as a gift to the city of Boston. Construction began the same year at Dock Square. The artist John Smibert built the market building between 1740 and 1742 in the typical style of an English market. It had an open ground floor for selling and trading and an assembly room on the upper floor. It is interesting to know that Faneuil Hall was partially funded by profits made from slave trading. Even more so, some of the first slave auctions in the city were held near the new marketplace.

The building was devastated by fire in 1761. Only the bricks remained. The town rebuilt it a year later. Faneuil Hall was expanded in 1805 by Charles Bulfinch (Wikipedia Article). He added a third floor and doubled the building’s height and width. He also added galleries around the assembly hall and those near the open arcades. Later in that century, Quincy Market was added, which greatly enlarged the shopping area. Six new streets were built as well. During the last years of the 19th century, Faneuil Hall was completely rebuilt with non-combustible materials.

In 1960, Faneuil Hall became a National Historic Landmark in the United States. Faneuil Hall is now part of the larger Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which serves as both an indoor and outdoor market and has several restaurants, shops, stalls, and lots of entertainment. The first floor serves as a market and retail space, while the second floor is a meeting hall where city debates are held, as well as the occasional exhibition. It is still Boston’s central meeting place. This typical type of market place is called a festival marketplace and was designed by Benjamin Thompson and Associates. It was a huge success in the 1970s and became an example for other marketplaces in the country.

Faneuil Hall, Boston -
	Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall, Boston - Faneuil Hall. Photo by Tony Fischer

Features

Faneuil Hall is topped with the famous ‘Golden Grasshopper’ weathervane, which has become a symbol of Boston. The weathervane was designed in 1742 by Deacon Shem Drowne. It is gilded with gold leaf, is four feet long and weighs eight pounds. The grasshopper has been sitting at the top of the building for more than 260 years and has seen the city grow and America change dramatically in the course of the years.

The building has several Doric and Ionic pilasters, and on the inside, visitors can see a large selection of sculptures and paintings of politicians, Civil War abolitionists, and Revolutionary War heroes.

Similar Landmarks

Boston’s Freedom Trail runs past sixteen historically important sites and structures in the city. Examples are Boston Common, Old State House; Old Corner Bookstore, Granary Burying Ground; Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere House; Bunker Hill Monument, and the site of the infamous Boston Massacre.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 05, 2015

Pictures of Faneuil Hall

BC High Choir Sings for Irish President - Faneuil Hall
BC High Choir Sings for Irish President - Faneuil Hall. Photo by BC High

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