Faneuil Hall: Everything you need to know
Faneuil Hall: A Brief History
Faneuil Hall started out as one building, in the style of an English country market, with the purpose of creating a place to gather and meet and discuss policies and politics.
It was dubbed “The Cradle of Liberty” in a speech given in 1890, by Julius Caesar Chappelle, one of the first black Republican legislators of Boston. The nickname stuck.
It is now part of a larger festival marketplace that includes three buildings: North Market, Quincy Market, and South Market. The trio make up an indoor/outdoor mall with numerous places to eat, shop, and see live entertainment.
The original building was built in 1740 near the waterfront in Dock Square. It took two years to build and was funded by its namesake, Peter Faneui, who was a merchant at the time. It is said that some of the money for the construction came from slave trading. Faneuil Hall was built by artist John Smibert as a marketing house with an open ground floor and an assembly room above.
Faneuil Hall burned down just 20 years later in 1761 and was rebuilt the next year, funded by the city of Boston.
The hall underwent and expansion in 1806 which included:
- Doubling its height and adding a 3rd floor
- Adding 4 new bays
- Enclosed the open arcades
- Moving the cupola to the other end of the building
- Adding galleries around the assembly hall
Quincy Market was constructed nearby in 1824-26. And so as to not repeat the fire disaster of 1761, Faneuil Hall was entirely rebuilt of noncombustible materials in 1898–1899.
Recent History of Faneuil Hall
Not surprising, Faneuil Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a few years later was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, in 1994 the Boston Landmark Commission designated it as a Boston Landmark. It is also one of the stops on the Boston Freedom Trail.
Faneuil Hall Today
Today, the mixed-used Festival Marketplace has over 70 retailers, including shops unique only to Boston. There are also 40 businesses with office space in the marketplace.
You can also find restaurants and pubs and enjoy the Quincy Market Colonnade.
World-renowned street performers can be found entertaining up and down the cobblestone promenades with lively music and entertaining routines found no where else in the world.
You might also catch a school group, orchestra, church choir, or a’cappella group performing here.
Fun Facts and Historical Events for Faneuil Hall
- Boston locals often use the name “Faneuil Hall” or “Fanueil” to refer to the entire neighborhood surrounding the building.
- The grasshopper weather vane on top of the hall is a well known symbol of Boston.
- According to Sean Hennessey, a National Park Service spokesman, some of Boston’s early slave auctions were located near Faneuil Hall.
- During the British occupation of Boston in 1775 it was used for a theater.
- Faneuil Hall includes many paintings and sculpture busts of Revolutionary War activists, pre Civil War abolitionists, and political leaders.
- In 2008, Faneuil Hall was rated number 4 in America’s 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites by Forbes Travel Guide.
- The Headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts has been in Faneuil Hall since 1746, currently on the 4th floor.
- In 1979, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy gave a speech here declaring his candidacy for president. In 2004, Senator John Kerry also delivered his concession speech here.
- The Hall is still used for political debates between Massachusetts candidates.
- It has hosted the political show The O’Reilly Factor.
Staying in Boston
If you are planning a trip to enjoy Faneuil Hall and the Festival Marketplace to do some shopping, eating and sightseeing, consider staying in a short-term apartment rental rather than a hotel. You can experience one of Boston’s most famous historical building like a local and have all the conveniences of home in one of our gorgeous apartments. We have several locations spread out throughout the city to choose from. Give us a call today and start planning your next trip to historic Boston.