Boston's Old City Hall

By Levi Clancy for לוי on

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Site of the Boston Latin School, the nation's first public school and the oldest educational institution in the country. Notable alums include Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Samuel Adams.


On this site was erected Suffolk County Courthouse designed by renowned architect Charles Bulfinch. Remodeled by Gridley J F Bryant, it was City Hall from 1841 until the government body outgrew the space in 1862. At that time it was demolished and only the basement of the Bulfinch building was retained. This was the foundation of the existing structure and the granite blocks were reused in the new exterior walls of the rear and east side.

1862 12 22

Cornerstone laid. Architects were Gridley J F Bryant and Arthur Gilman.


Dedication of the building by Mayor F W Lincoln, Jr


Boston's City Hall


The city administration was again cramped. An annex was added at the read of the building (now the Boston School Department building). When new space was needed again in 1969, the City of Boston leased the structure to the Architecture Heritage Foundation which rehabilitated it into an office building.


National Historic Landmark


Conversion from government building into restaurant and first class office building. This redevelopment was widely publicized by the American Institute of Architects and became a model for successful redevelopment for underutilized municipal property. Old City Hall became a role model for the reuse of landmark buildings across the United States.


Award for Preservation, Boston Society of Architects


Honor Award, American Institute of Architects


National Preservation Honor Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation


Boston Preservation Alliance Creative Exterior Lighting Design

Statue of Benjamin Franklin

Statue of Franklin is dressed in appropriate attire for his day rather than draped in classical Greek attire. Franklin was the first portrait statue in the United States depicting the subject as he would actually appear rather than draped in classical heroic attire.