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Tags : Historical Site

Establishment : 1742

Architectural Style : Georgian

Nickname : The Cradle of Liberty

Opening Time : 9:00 am

Admission Fee : None

Closest Train Station : Blackbay Railway Station

Primarily Used For : Political debates, meetings, protests and the O'Reilly Factor Show

Marketplace Timings : 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (Monday-Thursday), 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (Friday-Saturday), Noon to 6:00 pm (Sunday)

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Faneuil Hall, Boston Overview

A popular site linked by the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall is a meeting hall as well as a marketplace. Often called “the Cradle of Liberty,” it is a part of the Boston National Historical Park and played a key role in the country’s independence from the British during the 18th century.

The Faneuil Hall was built in the year 1742 in the Georgian style and is situated near the waterfront as well as the Government’s Center. The structure has been found to be one of the most frequently visited sites in the States as it is associated with the country’s struggle for Independence. Used to propagate the message of freedom by various political activists during the 18th century, Faneuil Hall’s historical prominence attracts large crowds of people who walk the Freedom Trail.

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Faneuil Hall Architecture

Built in the Georgian style, the rectangular Faneuil Hall was built in red brick by John Smibert in 1742 when the city needed a public meeting hall. Its construction was funded by Peter Faneuil, a merchant of French lineage.

When the structure was burnt down in 1761, it was rebuilt with the help of a state-authorised lottery, and ultimately reopened 2 years later. Between 1805-1806, additional floors were added to the building by the architect Charles Bulfinch.

The entrances to the Hall lie on its west and east ends, with paved open plazas providing access to them. The west plaza was made in pink and grey granite pavers, as well as bricks, and boasts of a bronze Samuel Adams statue, along with lighting fixtures, planters, picnic tables and benches.

Some of the key elements of Faneuil Hall include:

  • The bronze statue, by Anne Whitney, the lower base and corner posts of which are made of unpolished Quincy granite, while the upper base in made of polished Quincy granite.
  • A bell, repaired in 2007, that was last rung with its clipper in 1945, at the end of the Second World War (though it has been rung a few times after by striking a mallet).
  • The grasshopper weather vane, built by Deacon Shem Drowne in 1742, that rests on the top of the building. The copper structure that is gilded with a gold leaf is said to have been inspired largely by the grasshopper weather vane found on the London Royal Exchange.

Faneuil Hall's Usage Over the Years

Faneuil Hall has been used for several debates, protests, meetings and also for political shows throughout the city’s history. It hosted a town meeting in the aftermath of the Boston Massacre in 1770, a tea tax protest in 1773 as well as a toast by George Washington on the first anniversary of America’s foundation.

In the year 1890, Julius Caesar Chappelle, a black Boston legislator, delivered a speech here, supporting the Federal Elections bill that argued for the right of black people to vote.

It was here that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy declared his Presidential candidacy in 1979 and Senator John Kerry delivered his concession speech in 2004.

Former President Barack Obama defended the Affordable Care Act in 2013 here, at the exact spot where Governor Mitt Romney had signed the Massachusetts healthcare bill 7 years ago, in 2006. Faneuil Hall is where Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was laid in state after his death in 2014.

Moreover, the Hall’s 4th floor houses the Headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one out of a total of four historic buildings amidst a festival market, and is made up of 3 historic granite structures, namely North Market, Quincy Market and South Market. The Marketplace as a whole functions as an outdoor as well as indoor mall and food eatery. Designed by Benjamin Thompson and Associates, the structure is believed to have inspired the construction of similar marketplaces in the country.

How to Reach Faneuil Hall

One of the main attractions linked by the Freedom Trail, the Faneuil Hall is frequently visited by those who wish to explore the entire Trail and the 16 sites that it connects. When coming by the Subway, visitors can take the Blue, Green, Orange or Red line, with some of the closest stops being the Aquarium, Haymarket or Government Center. Buses 504, 92, SL1, SL5 drop off visitors just about a block away from the Hall, and for those getting here in a car, there is a parking garage on Broad Street.

History of the Faneuil Hall

This National Historic Landmark, also known as “the home of free speech,” was built in 1742 in order fulfil the need for a public meeting hall in the city of Boston. Constructed by John Smibert and funded by Peter Faneuil, the Faneuil Hall was initially built resembling an English country market, with an open ground floor as the market house and an assembly room on top. It is said that several slave auctions took place near this historical structure.

When destroyed by a fire in 1761, it was rebuilt the following year, also serving as a theatre in 1775. In 1906, Charles Bulfinch took up the task of expanding the structure; its height and width were doubled, a third floor and four bays were added, taking the total up to 7, among other changes.

The Hall was declared a National Historic Landmark (1960), and was added to the National Register of Historic Places under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Furthermore, it underwent restoration in 1992 and was declared a Boston Landmark in 1994. Since its establishment, the Faneuil Hall has been known to be the site of several key historical events, which include political protests, speeches and meetings.

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