Faneuil Hall today, east side
|Architect||John Smibert; Charles Bulfinch|
|NRHP reference #||66000368|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NHL||October 9, 1960|
Faneuil Hall (// or //; previously //), located near the waterfront and today's Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts, has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1743. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. Now it is part of Boston National Historical Park and a well-known stop on the Freedom Trail. It is sometimes referred to as "the Cradle of Liberty".
In 2008, Faneuil Hall was rated number 4 in America's 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites by Forbes Traveler.
After the project of erecting a public market house in Boston had been discussed for some years, merchant Peter Faneuil offered, at a public meeting in 1740, to build a suitable edifice at his own cost as a gift to the town. There was a strong opposition to market houses, and although a vote of thanks was passed unanimously, his offer was accepted by a majority of only seven. Funded in part by profits from slave trading, the building was begun in Dock Square in September of the same year. It was built by artist John Smibert in 1740–1742 in the style of an English country market, with an open ground floor serving as the market house, and an assembly room above. According to Sean Hennessey, a National Park Service spokesman, some of Boston's early slave auctions took place near Faneuil Hall.
In 1761 the hall was destroyed by fire, nothing but the brick walls remaining. It was rebuilt by the town in 1762. In 1775, during the British occupation of Boston, it was used for a theatre.
In 1806, the hall was greatly expanded by Charles Bulfinch, doubling its height and width and adding a third floor. Four new bays were added, to make seven in all; the open arcades were enclosed, and the cupola was moved to the opposite 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. Neighboring Quincy Market was constructed in 1824–1826. Faneuil Hall was entirely rebuilt of noncombustible materials in 1898–1899.
On October 9, 1960 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places a number of years later. The ground floor and basement were altered in 1979. The Hall was restored again in 1992 and in 1994 the building was designated a local Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission.
The headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts is located on the fourth floor and includes an armory, library, offices, quartermaster department, commissary, and military museum with free admission.
Faneuil Hall is one of four historic buildings in a festival marketplace, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which includes three historic granite buildings called North Market, Quincy Market, and South Market adjacent to the east of Faneuil Hall, and which operates as an indoor/outdoor mall and food eatery. It was designed by Benjamin Thompson and Associates and managed by Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.; its success in the late 1970s led to the emergence of similar marketplaces in other U.S. cities.
According to Ashkenazy, Faneuil Hall Marketplace had 18 million visitors in 2016.
On Friday in early August 1890, one of the first black Republican legislators of Boston, Julius Caesar Chappelle, made a speech "At the Cradle of Liberty" in support of the Federal Elections bill that would help give blacks the right to vote. Chappelle was a Boston legislator from 1883–1886. The Faneuil Hall event was covered by the media in the United States, and the speech by Chappelle appeared in an August 9, 1890 article, "At the Cradle of Liberty, Enthusiastic Endorsement of the Elections Bill, Faneuil Hall again Filled with Liberty Loving Bostonians to Urge a Free Ballot and Fare Count..." on the front page of The New York Age newspaper on Saturday, August 9, 1890.
On November 7, 1979, Faneuil Hall was the site of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's speech declaring his candidacy for president. On November 3, 2004, Faneuil Hall was the site of Senator John Kerry's concession speech in the 2004 presidential election.
The Headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts has been in Faneuil Hall since 1746, currently on the 4th floor.
It is also still used for political debates between Massachusetts candidates as well as political shows, such as The O'Reilly Factor.
Faneuil is a French name, and is anglicized as // or //. In Colonial times, it may have been pronounced as in funnel, because Peter Faneuil's gravestone is marked "P. Funel." However, the inscription was added long after his burial; the stone originally displayed only the Faneuil family crest, not his surname.
Boston area locals often use the term Faneuil to refer to the entire surrounding neighborhood, particularly as a landmark for its vibrant nightlife.
In August 2017, amid heightened media coverage of the removal of confederate monuments and memorials in the United States, the activist group New Democracy Coalition proposed that Faneuil Hall's name be changed because of Peter Faneuil's participation in the slave trade. In response to the proposal, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh stated: "We are not going the change the name of Faneuil Hall".
The bell was repaired in 2007 by spraying the frozen clapper with WD-40 over the course of a week and attaching a rope. Prior to this repair, the last known ringing of the bell with its clapper was at the end of World War II, in 1945, though it had since been rung several times by striking with a mallet.
The gilded grasshopper weather vane on top of the building was created by Deacon Shem Drowne in 1742. Gilded with a gold leaf, the copper weather vane weighs 80 pounds (36 kg) and is 4 feet (1.2 m) long. The weather vane is believed to be modeled after the grasshopper weather vane on the London Royal Exchange, based upon the family crest of Thomas Gresham.
The area between the eastern end of Faneuil Hall and Congress Street is part of Boston National Historical Park. In this landscape is a 19th-century sculpture of Samuel Adams created by sculptor Anne Whitney. The granite plaza surface is marked for 850 feet (260 m) with the approximate location of the early Colonial shoreline c. 1630. The street layout and building plot plan designations from an 1820 map are shown by etched dashed lines and changes from pink granite to grey granite paving slabs. The shoreline marking artwork entitled, A Once and Future Shoreline, is made with etched silhouettes of seaweed, sea grass, fish, shells and other materials found along a high tide line.
Art within Faneuil Hall includes many paintings and sculpture busts of Revolutionary War activists, pre Civil War abolitionists, and political leaders.
View of Faneuil Hall from the harbor; by Abel Bowen, 1838
Fourth of July festivities at Faneuil Hall; Gleason's Pictorial, 1853
Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, 19th century
Faneuil Hall and Congress St., 1973
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Faneuil Hall.|
Site of the Boston Massacre
|Locations along Boston's Freedom Trail
Paul Revere House
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