Downtown & Financial District, Boston
When in Boston, don't miss out on the opportunity to see an idiot in its natural habitat. That's right, JIM SAVAGE lives and works in Boston and is on display most evenings behind the bar at JJ Foleys. You can speak to it, pet it and look at it for as long as you can affort beer. Here is a picture of it
The Irish Famine Monument was constructed in 1998 to commemorate those who died in the Irish famine and those who immigrated to the US. During and after the Irish famine, 100,000 Irish settled in Boston, and today the city is 20% Irish.
This monument depicts an Irish family suffering in Ireland, and their transformation after arriving in America.
The monument sits in a small plaza in front of Borders bookstore. The area is frequented by homeless, but seems relatively safe.
Address: Washington and School Street
Directions: Next to the Old South Meeting Hall and Borders bookstore
Filene's is the only department store that I know of that has its own set of bells that chime the hour. The store was built in 1912 and has what is called a Beaux Arts facade. It has two clocks on the outside of the building as well as this four-bell carillion.
I heard on 31.12.05 that Filine's has been bought by Macy's and to be closed at the end of January 2006. I do hope that the building is not just knocked down.
Address: 426 Washington Street
Directions: Between Boston Common and the financial district.
Phone: 617 262-3000
Not to be confused with the State House. The Old State House was designed and constructed in 1713 and was the British Colonial Governor's offices. The lion and the unicorn on the outside of the building were, and still are, symbols of the British Crown. During the Revolution the Old State House became the headquarters of the British army. I'm afraid I didn't have time to go inside where the Bostonian Society have a museum.
Address: 206 Washington Street
Almost opposite Old South Meeting House (in the background of my photo) is a small square containing a very small garden and within it the Boston Irish Famine Memorial. It was unveiled in 1998. There are two statutes - the first in the photo depicts a family begging for food following the Irish Famine. The second statue of a prosperous and well fed Irish immigrant family.
Address: Washington Street
Occasionally works of art are not in parks, the street or in art galleries and here is an example on the wall of Park Street Subway Station commemorating the fact that Boston has the oldest underground subway system in the USA.
Address: Park Street Subway Station
Directions: On the Green Line
Whilst I can read on the internet the history of the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic party none of my guidebooks tell me anything about this bronze statue just inside the entrance to the Old City Hall in School Street.
October 2005 I have recently had an e-mail to say that Old City Hall's management office have written that :-
" "The Donkey" was imported from Italy. We do not have record of who sculpted the statue."
It turns out the sculptor was Antonio Frilli.
Address: School Street
Directions: Part way down School Street between Kings Chapel and the Old Globe Bookstore
The Customs House was originally built along the Boston waterfront as offices for customs inspectors, but after years of filling in the harbor to expand the city, it now sits several hundred yards from the water. The shifting landscape is not the only change the Customs House has seen. The original building was a single story Greek temple-like building completed in 1847. In 1915, the 16 story tower was completed on top of the original base.
Today the Customs House is well known for its colorful 22 foot wide clock face that looks over much of downtown. The building itself now hosts a Marriott time-share condo.
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.
Address: McKinley Square (State Street and India Street).
Filene's Basement, which is more than 2 floors, has the best bargains in the U.S. Designer clothes for less than half off. I got $200 suits for $80.
Now, for all you people who are interested in more than shopping, here is some history of the place: it was designed by Daniel Burnham in 1912 as the flagship store for William Filene and Sons regional retail empire-this was the renowned Midwestern city planner?s last major building. The decorative treatment of the cornices and window massing in Beaux Arts style reflect the influence of the Chicago School of Design. From a small shop begun in Salem in 1852, Polish-born William Filene brought his progressive retail ideas to Boston in 1881. The early department store created an atmosphere of fine specialty shops. Filene?s has been known since for retailing innovations. I guess you could call great sales a retailing innovation! LOL
Address: 426 Washington Street, at Summer Street.
Directions: Downtown Crossing, Park St or State/Citizen's Bank T. If you get off at Park St. T inbound turn right immediately and walk down Winter Street. This is a walking street (pedestrian zone). At the end on the left if Filene's -- on the right is Macy's.
Phone: tel: 357-2100.
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.
Address: 45 School Street.
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.
Address: 1 Court Street.
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.
Address: Corner of Tremont and School Streets.
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.
Address: Washington Street, just down from the Swissotel.
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.
Directions: Around the intersection of Washington, Summer, and Winter Streets, reached by the Downtown Crossing T stop.