The Square is outstanding for the number and variety of important architectural works that have been built there, many of them official landmarks.[clarification needed] Prominent structures still standing include:
- Old South Church (1873), by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears in the Venetian Gothic Revival style.
- Trinity Church (1877, Romanesque Revival), considered H. H. Richardson's tour de force.
- Boston Public Library (1895), by Charles Follen McKim in a revival of Italian Renaissance style, incorporates artworks by John Singer Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey, Daniel Chester French, and others.
- The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (1912) by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in the Beaux-Arts style (on the site of the original Museum of Fine Arts).
- The John Hancock Tower (1976, late Modernist) by Henry N. Cobb, at 790 feet (241 m) New England's tallest building.
- The Bostix Kiosk (1992, Postmodernist), at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston streets, by Graham Gund with inspiration from Parisian park pavilions.
Among buildings no longer standing are:
- Chauncy Hall School (ca. 1874, demolished 1908), a tall-gabled High Victorian brick school building on Boylston St. near Dartmouth St.
- Museum of Fine Arts (1876, demolished 1910) by John Hubbard Sturgis and Charles Brigham in the Gothic Revival style, was the first purpose-built public art museum in the world.
- S.S. Pierce Building, (1887, demolished 1958) by S. Edwin Tobey, "no masterpiece of architecture, [but] great urban design. A heap of dark Romanesque masonry..."
A remarkable number of important Boston educational and cultural institutions were originally located adjacent to (or very near) Copley Square, reflecting 19th-century Boston's aspirations for it as a center of culture and progress. These include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, the New England Museum of Natural History (today's Museum of Science), Trinity Church, the New Old South Church, the Boston Public Library, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Massachusetts Normal Art School (today's Massachusetts College of Art), the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, Boston University, Emerson College and Northeastern University.
Known as Art Square until 1883, Copley Square was originally cut diagonally by Huntington Avenue; it took its present form in 1966 when Huntington Avenue was truncated at the corner of Dartmouth Street, the Square partially paved, and a pyramidal fountain sculpture added. In 1991, after further changes including a new fountain, the new Copley Square Park was dedicated. The nonprofit Friends of Copley Square raises funds for care of the square's plantings, fountain, and monuments.
The Boston Marathon has finished at Copley Square since 1986. A memorial celebrating the race's 100th running (in 1996) is located in the park, near the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth streets.
2013 Boston Marathon bombings
On April 15, 2013, around 2:50 p.m. EDT, about three hours after the men's and women's winners crossed the line, two loud explosions were heard from Copley Square, 14 seconds apart, one near the finish line alongside the Boston Public Library, the other about a block farther west. Three people were killed and at least 183 reported injured, including at least 14 victims confirmed to have lost limbs.
S.S. Pierce & Co., Copley Square, Boston, 1888, now the site of the Copley Place retail/hotel/office complex
- Mary Melvin Petronella, ed., Victorian Boston Today: Twelve Walking Tours (Northeastern University Press, 2004), 69, available onlime, access September 9, 2012
- Robert Campbell and Peter Vanderwarker. Coming into Copley. Boston Globe.Mar 26, 2006. p.BGM.16.
- Douglass Shand-Tucci, The Gods of Copley Square, lecture series, 2009, sponsored by Back Bay Historical/Boston-centric Global Studies and the New England Historical Genealogical Society
- Powers, John (April 16, 2010). "Evolution of the Boston Marathon finish line". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- Boston Marathon Memorial, Boston Art Commission, 100 Public Artworks, p. 3
- Aldrich, Megan. Gothic Revival. Phaidon Press Ltd: 1994. ISBN 0-7148-2886-6.
- Bunting, Bainbridge. Houses of Boston's Back Bay: An Architectural History, 1840-1917. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: 1967. ISBN 0-674-40901-9.
- Forbes, Esther, and Arthur Griffin. The Boston Book. Houghton Mifflin Company: 1947.
- Holtz Kay, Jane. Lost Boston. Houghton Mifflin: 1999. ISBN 0-395-96610-8.
- Shand-Tucci, Douglass. "The Gods of Copley Square: Dawn of the Modern American Experience, 1865-1915", www.backbayhistorical.org/Blog, 2009.
- Shand-Tucci, Douglass. "Built in Boston, City and Suburb, 1800-2000". Little, Brown. (Third edition) 1999.
- Shand-Tucci, Douglass. "Renaissance Rome and Emersonian Boston: Michelangelo and Sargent, between Triumph and Doubt", Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2002, 995-1008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Copley Square, Boston.|
- Copley Square Farmers' Market site
- Friends of Copley Square
- Boston Public Library Copley Square Collection
- Copley Square: The Story of Boston's Art Square