Downtown & Financial District, Boston
Old Opera House
Opened in 1928 as a vaudeville theater, and becoming the Opera House in 1978 under direction of Sarah Caldwell, the Boston Opera House is a magnificent building with precious history. It is one of the most sumptuous surviving buildings by the eminent theater architect, Thomas Lamb. Designed in the Beaux Arts style, he intended for this theater to set a new standard for grandeur. It truly did so with its rich sculptural detail, lavish goldleaf ornamentation, marble columns and French Baroque paintings. There is
a plan to restore the front facade and trim of the historic theater to its original condition, while renovating the interior.
The mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, has taken an interest in historic preservation, and nominated the Paramount, the Opera House, and the Modern Theatre on Washington Street for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of Endangered Places in 1995. All three made the cut in 1995, and the mayor has been involved in efforts to restore the buildings since.
The Royal Governor built King's Chapel on the town burying ground in 1688. When the building became too small for the congregation in 1749, architect Peter Harrison was hired to design a new church on the same site 'that would be the equal of any in England.' This church was completed in 1754 (one of the 500 most important buildings in America). The magnificent light-filled sanctuary is considered by many to be the finest example of Georgian church architecture in North America. Before the American Revolution, it was the headquarters of all the colonial Anglican churches. In 1785, King's Chapel became the first Unitarian Church in America. Services are still held today.
The 14-story Ames Building (1889-1892) was designed by the architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. The Romanesque style building was the tallest building in Boston when it was completed. Constructed before skyscrapers were built of steel, the Ames Building is supported by 9-foot thick masonry walls. The Ames manufacturing company supplied shovels to build Civil War fortifications and the transcontinental railroad. It is still the second tallest wall-bearing structure in the United States. It is being renovated for a hotel--occupancy is projected for the winter of 2003.
Old City Hall
Boston's Old City Hall was one of the first buildings in the French Second Empire Style to be built in the United States, and is now one of the few that survive. The design originated in France during the Second Empire (the reign of Emperor Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870). In Paris, this style gained popularity with the building of the new Louvre. After the completion of Boston's City Hall (1865) the French Second Empire Style was used extensively elsewhere in Boston and for many public buildings in the United States, such as the Executive Office Building in Washington D.C. as well as other city halls in Providence, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The major characteristic of this style is the mansard roof, a double pitched roof with a steep lower slope that has a boxy shape. Often the building will have a projecting center that is topped by a dome, and tall windows and doors that are flanked by pairs of columns.
Custom House Tower
Surrounded by 32 huge Doric columns, the Customs House was built in 1847. The Greek revival structure with monolithic Quincy granite columns was designed by Ammi Burnham Young. In 1915, it was surmounted by Peabody & Stearns’ 495-foot, 30-story Classical Revival-style tower. For more than 30 years it was the tallest building on the Boston skyline. Here duties were collected and maritime business conducted as Boston clipper ships circled the world. Not surprisingly, it is no longer the tallest skyscraper in New England, but it still adds character to the Boston skyline as seen from the harbor.
Spend, spend, spend here at Downtown Crossing, Boston's main retail shopping district. During the holidays it's filled with the sights and smells of hundreds of people crowding its pedestrian-only streets to buy, buy, buy. This is home to Boston's only surviving hometown department store, Filene's, and the famous Filene's Basement store downstairs, which has grown into its own chain. There are several other department stores here and tons of other specialty shops. During the holidays, the crowds are unbelievable. This is also one of Boston's best people-watching spots, as it draws a large variety of people who come from all over the region to shop.
This area bustles with activity. You will find all sorts of retail establishments where you will find most locals running errands! This sits between Chinatown, the theatre and the financial district.
The seat of government of the City of Boston. This Fortress-like structure looks plain but very distinct though...
Lots of shops, malls, and even a church. Best place to people watch. Street performers during Summer time.
"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."
William F. Buckley Jr.
Boston Stock Exchange had been around for over 170 years.
And plays a big role in the national financial market.
The Custom House Tower of Boston (1837-47) is one of the oldest skyscrapers of the city. It is now a Marriott hotel... very expensive, but the location is great.