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Tags : Landmark

Year of Completion : 1798

Architect : Charles Bulfinch

Architectural Style : Federal

Area : 6.7 acres

Other Names : Massachusetts Statehouse, New State House

Timings : 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (Monday- Friday), Saturday- Sunday closed

Address : 24 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02133, USA

Offices : Constitutional Officers’ offices, except the Attorney General’s, Fourth Estate, Legislature, Veterans’ Organisations, U.S Post Office, State House Cafe

Statues : General Joseph Hooker equestrian statue, Daniel Webster, Horace Mann, John F. Kennedy, Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer

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Massachusetts State House, Boston Overview

Situated in Beacon Hill, the Massachusetts State House is the state capitol along with being the seat of the government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It houses several key government offices including that of the state’s Governor and the Massachusetts General Court or the State Legislature. Owing to its gorgeous Federal style of architecture, the building became a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

The Massachusetts State House, also known as the Massachusetts Statehouse or the New State House is located on Beacon Hill and was built in 1798 by Charles Bulfinch in the Federal style of architecture. It spans over an area of about 6.7 acres and is a National Historic Landmark that houses many government offices and falls on the Freedom Trail. The red-brick building has undergone significant structural changes since its establishment.

Offices Within the State House and the Architectural Significance

1. Dome of the State House

The original dome of the building was built in wood and was then covered with copper by the Revere Copper Company, that belonged to Paul Revere, in the year 1802. It was painted grey and then light ye (Read More)llow before it was gilded with the gold leaf in 1874. Later on, during the Second World War, in an attempt to prevent the structure from reflecting during blackouts and to protect the building from any bombings, the dome was again painted grey. And finally, in 1997, it was gilded again in 23k gold. Today, visitors can see the dome with a gilded wooden pine cone that represents the city’s colonial history and the lumber industry.

2. Statues

There are several statues on the perimeter; the front of the Statehouse sports an equestrian General Joseph Hooker statue, a Daniel Webster statue, a Horace Mann statue and a John F. Kennedy statue wh (Read More)ile the east and west lawns sport an Anne Hutchinson statue and a Mary Dyer statue respectively.

3. Constitutional Officers

It contains offices of all Constitutional officers of the commonwealth (Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Governor’s Council, Auditor, Treasurer and Receiver-General, Secretary of the commonweal (Read More)th) apart from that of the Attorney General (McCormack Building nearby).

4. Fourth Estate

The fourth floor of the building is where a lot of news reporters maintain their offices, governed by the Massachusetts State House Press Association; the Legislature gave reporters the central Press (Read More)Gallery room for use in 1909. Some of the offices include the WBUR-FM State House bureau, the Boston Globe State House bureau, the State House News Service newsroom etc.

5. Legislature

It is the Legislature that has been provided with the maximum office space in the Statehouse, with House and Senate members being assigned their own offices. Some of the offices include that of the Ho (Read More)use Speaker, the Senate President, House and Senate clerks, Legislative Information Services amongst others.

6. Veterans’ Organisations

The fifth floor of the building is home to several rooms reserved for veterans’ groups’ Massachusetts headquarters, including that of the American Legion, Korean War Veterans, Veterans of (Read More)Foreign Wars etc.

7. Services

The building is also where the U.S Post Office- State House Station and the State House Café are located.

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Facts About the Massachusetts State House's History and Construction

The Massachusetts State House was built by Charles Bulfinch in the late 18th century on land that belonged to the first elected governor of the state, John Hancock. It is said that Bulfinch used 2 existing London buildings as inspiration when designing the Statehouse. The structure that rests on about 6.7 acres of land has undergone several renovations over the years, with different architects adding features.

The first addition, that of 4 fireproof rooms, was completed in 1831, the second, that was to the north portico, was completed in 1856 and the third, that was to the State House, began in 1889. In 1895, the Commonwealth was given the responsibility of expanding the building, with Charles Brigham serving as the architect for the annex while 22 years later, in 1917, architects Bryant, Sturgis, Chapman & Andrews completed the building’s east and west wings.

About the Massachusetts State House Building

Charles Bulfinch constructed the Federal style building in red brick over an area of approximately 6.7 acres. When talking about the inside of the building, there are a number of chambers in the east and west wings that are allotted to different government offices including that of the Governor, the Senate, the Legislature, Veterans’ organisations etc.

It is the Massachusetts House of Representatives that has a chamber on the Brigham addition’s west side, with the “Sacred Cod” hanging over it, symbolising the state’s fishing industry. Under the dome is the Massachusetts Senate’s office in what was earlier the House of Representatives Chamber.

Murals are an interesting feature of the building; there are murals in the House Chamber (painted by Albert Herter) as well as under the dome (painted by Edward Brodney). There is a staircase right outside the building which leads up to the main doors, opened only on three occasions; on the visit of the US President or a foreign head of state, on the Governor’s exit on the last day or on the return of a regimental flag from battle.

In the cornerstone of the Statehouse is the Samuel Adams and Paul Revere time capsule, a metal box containing coins, newspaper clippings along with other historical artefacts. The building houses the George Feingold State library as well as the Great Hall meant for political functions.

How to Reach the Massachusetts State House

A key attraction for many, the Massachusetts State House is accessible to those who walk the Freedom Trail but it is equally possible to visit this historic landmark via other means. While there is no designated parking for the building itself, there is paid parking around, such as the LAZ Parking- Ashburton Lot, VPNE Beacon Street Lot, Boston Common Garage etc. The Green, Orange, Silver and Red line of the MTBA Subway as well as the Commuter rail bring passengers within walking distance of the Statehouse, with Park Street, Government Center, Back Bay Station and South Station being the closest, amongst others. Moreover, visitors can also hop on buses 43 or 55 since they drop off passengers right in front of the building.

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