Faneuil Hall

Coordinates: 42°21′36.0″N 71°03′22.5″W / 42.360000°N 71.056250°W / 42.360000; -71.056250
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall today, east side
Faneuil Hall is located in Boston
Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall is located in Massachusetts
Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall is located in the United States
Faneuil Hall
LocationBoston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°21′36.0″N 71°03′22.5″W / 42.360000°N 71.056250°W / 42.360000; -71.056250
ArchitectJohn Smibert; Charles Bulfinch
Architectural styleGeorgian
NRHP reference No.66000368[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLOctober 9, 1960

Faneuil Hall (/ˈfænjəl/ or /ˈfænəl/; previously /ˈfʌnəl/) is a marketplace and meeting hall located near the waterfront and today's Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts. Opened in 1742,[2] it was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. It is now part of Boston National Historical Park and a well-known stop on the Freedom Trail. It is sometimes referred to as "the Cradle of Liberty".[3]

In 2008, Faneuil Hall was rated number 4 in "America's 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites" by Forbes Traveler.[4]


18th century[edit]

After the project of erecting a public market house in Boston had been discussed for some years, colonial merchant and slave trader Peter Faneuil offered, at a public meeting in 1740, to build a suitable edifice at his own cost as a gift to the town. There was a strong opposition to market houses,[clarify][citation needed] and although a vote of thanks was passed unanimously, his offer was accepted by a majority of only seven. Funded in part by profits from slave trading,[5] the building was begun in Dock Square in September of the same year.[6] It was built by artist John Smibert in 1740–1742 in the style of an English country market, with an open ground floor serving as the market house, and an assembly room above. According to Sean Hennessey, a National Park Service spokesman, some of Boston's early slave auctions took place near Faneuil Hall.[7]

In 1761, the hall was destroyed by fire, with nothing but the brick walls remaining. It was rebuilt by the town in 1762. In 1775, during the British occupation of Boston, it was used for a theatre.[6]

Faneuil Hall in 1830

19th century[edit]

In 1806, the hall was greatly expanded by Charles Bulfinch, doubling its height and width and adding a third floor. Four new bays were added, to make seven in all; the open arcades were enclosed, and the cupola was moved to the opposite end of the building. Bulfinch applied Doric brick pilasters to the lower two floors, with Ionic pilasters on the third floor. This renovation added galleries around the assembly hall and increased its height. Faneuil Hall was used for town meetings until 1822.[8] Neighboring Quincy Market was constructed in 1824–1826.

Abolitionists met at the hall in the 1830s and formed the Committee of Vigilance and Safety to "take all measures that they shall deem expedient to protect the colored people of this city in the enjoyment of their lives and liberties."[9]

Faneuil Hall was entirely rebuilt of noncombustible materials in 1898–1899.[citation needed]

20th and 21st centuries[edit]

On October 9, 1960, the building was designated a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places following the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which placed all National Historic Landmarks in the National Register.[10] The ground floor and basement were altered in 1979. The Hall was restored again in 1992, and in 1994 the building was designated[11] a local Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission.

The headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts is located on the fourth floor and includes an armory, library, offices, quartermaster department, commissary, and a military museum with free admission.

Faneuil Hall, photograph dated 1903

Faneuil Hall Marketplace[edit]

Faneuil Hall is one of four historic buildings in a festival marketplace, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which includes three historic granite buildings called North Market, Quincy Market, and South Market adjacent to the east of Faneuil Hall, and which operates as an indoor/outdoor mall and food eatery. It was designed by Benjamin Thompson and Associates and managed by the Rouse Company; its success in the late 1970s led to the emergence of similar marketplaces in other U.S. cities. It has since come under the ownership of the Ashkenazy Corp.

According to Ashkenazy, Faneuil Hall Marketplace had 18 million visitors in 2016.[12]

The North and South Markets buildings are currently under study for landmark status by the Boston Landmarks Commission.


On Friday in early August 1890, one of the first black Republican legislators of Boston, Julius Caesar Chappelle, made a speech "At the Cradle of Liberty" in support of the Federal Elections bill that would help give Black people the right to vote. Chappelle was a Boston legislator from 1883 to 1886. The Faneuil Hall event was covered by the media in the United States, and the speech by Chappelle appeared in an August 9, 1890, article, "At the Cradle of Liberty, Enthusiastic Endorsement of the Elections Bill, Faneuil Hall again Filled with Liberty Loving Bostonians to Urge a Free Ballot and Fare Count..." on the front page of The New York Age newspaper on Saturday, August 9, 1890.[13]

On November 7, 1979, Faneuil Hall was the site of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's speech declaring his candidacy for president.[14] On November 3, 2004, Faneuil Hall was the site of Senator John Kerry's concession speech in the 2004 presidential election.

On April 11, 2006, Governor Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts' health care bill into law with a fife and drum band in Faneuil Hall before 300 ticketed guests.[15]

On October 30, 2013, President Barack Obama delivered a defense of the Affordable Care Act from the same spot where Romney signed his state's expansion of healthcare in 2006.[16]

On November 2, 2014, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino lay in state in Faneuil Hall following his death on October 30, 2014.[17]

The headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts has been in Faneuil Hall since 1746, currently on the 4th floor.

It is also still used for political debates between Massachusetts candidates as well as political shows, such as The O'Reilly Factor.


Faneuil is a French name, and is anglicized as /ˈfænəl/ or /ˈfænjəl/ (rhyming with panel or Daniel). In Colonial times, it may have been pronounced as in funnel. At Faneuil's burial only the Faneuil family crest was displayed on his headstone; its current inscription of "P. Funel" was added much later.[citation needed] In his 1825 novel Lionel Lincoln, James Fenimore Cooper used eye dialect for Bostonian characters to indicate that they pronounced it Funnel Hall.[18]

Boston area locals often use the term Faneuil to refer to the entire surrounding neighborhood, particularly as a landmark for its vibrant nightlife.[19]

In August 2017, amid heightened media coverage of the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials, the activist group New Democracy Coalition proposed that Faneuil Hall's name be changed because of Peter Faneuil's participation in the slave trade.[20] In response to the proposal, Boston mayor Marty Walsh stated: "We are not going to change the name of Faneuil Hall".[21] Additional name change protests have followed, including activists chaining themselves to the front door and a sit-in.[22][23]

Building elements[edit]


After a 72 year hiatus of being run with a rope, a stuck clapper was freed and lubricated, and new bellrope attached to the Hall's bell, in 2007. Its last known ringing with its clapper was at the end of World War II in 1945 (though it had been rung several times since with a mallet).[24]

Grasshopper weather vane[edit]

The gilded grasshopper weather vane on top of the building was created by Deacon Shem Drowne in 1742. Gilded with gold leaf, it weighs 80 pounds (36 kg), is 4 feet (1.2 m) long,[25] and is believed to be modeled after that of the London Royal Exchange, itself based upon the family crest of Thomas Gresham.[26][27]

Samuel Adams, described on the 1880 statue by Anne Whitney at Faneuil Hall as "A Statesman: Incorruptible and Fearless"

Public art and landscape artwork[edit]

The area between the eastern end of Faneuil Hall and Congress Street is part of Boston National Historical Park. In this landscape is a 19th-century sculpture of Samuel Adams[28] created by sculptor Anne Whitney. The granite plaza surface is marked for 850 feet (260 m) with the approximate location of the early Colonial shoreline c. 1630. The street layout and building plot plan designations from an 1820 map are shown by etched dashed lines and changes from pink granite to grey granite paving slabs. The shoreline marking artwork entitled, A Once and Future Shoreline, is made with etched silhouettes of seaweed, sea grass, fish, shells and other materials found along a high tide line.[29]

Art within Faneuil Hall includes many paintings and sculpture busts of Revolutionary War activists, pre Civil War abolitionists, and political leaders.[30]

Timeline of events[edit]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "The History of Faneuil Hall | Faneuil Hall Marketplace". 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Faneuil Hall Boston, The Cradle Of Liberty". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  4. ^ Baedeker, Rob (2008-05-05). "America's 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites". Forbes Traveler. Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  5. ^ "Was Faneuil Hall Built with Slave Money?". 13 March 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Faneuil, Peter" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  7. ^ "Unearthing Boston?s Past – The Daily Free Press". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Faneuil Hall History | Boston Freedom Trail History". Boston Tea Party Ships. 2019-09-20. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  9. ^,slavery%20through%20Boston%20in%20
  10. ^ National Park Service (n.d.). Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-12-06 – via
  11. ^ Boston Landmarks Commission. Faneuil Hall (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  12. ^ Logan, Tim (2017-06-08). "Faneuil Hall Marketplace aims to draw more locals". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  13. ^ "At the Cradle of Liberty", The New York Age, front page, Saturday August 9, 1890.
  14. ^ "PBS Carter Administration Timelilne". PBS. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  15. ^ Belluck, Pam; Zezima, Katie (April 13, 2006). "Massachusetts Legislation on Insurance Becomes Law". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "President Obama heading to Boston on Wednesday for health care speech". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "Thousands say goodbye to Menino". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Cooper, James Fenimore. "Lionel Lincoln : or, The leaguer of Boston". New York : Lovell, Coryell. Retrieved 30 May 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ Zander, Amy (16 August 2016). "Faneuil Hall: Everything you need to know". Maverick Empire. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  20. ^ Gere, Michelle (17 August 2017). "Group calls for Faneuil Hall to be renamed". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Marty Walsh has a confession to make". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  22. ^ "Activists chain themselves to Faneuil Hall in protest of its slaveholding namesake". Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  23. ^ McDonald, Danny (12 January 2023). "At City Hall, a sit-in to protest the name of a Boston landmark - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  24. ^ Viser, Matt (2007-05-04). "It tolls for the city". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
  25. ^ "Grasshopper Weather Vane on Faneuil Hall Is Stolen". New York Times. January 6, 1974. p. 54.
  26. ^ "Faneuil Hall Grasshopper". Celebrate Boston. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  27. ^ Unsworth, Tania (February 26, 1996). "Playing Tourist At Home". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  28. ^ "Samuel Adams Statue at Faneuil Hall Boston". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  29. ^ "CultureNOW - A Once and Future Shoreline (orignal [sic] shoreline c. 1630): Ross Miller, Boston Art Commission and Boston Landmarks Commission". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Art in Faneuil Hall, Boston National Historical Park Brochure" (PDF). Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Houghton Library Blog". Harvard University. 11 July 2013. Archived from the original on 8 November 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  32. ^ Snow. History of Boston. 1828; p.293-294
  33. ^ Daniel Webster. A discourse in commemoration of the lives and services of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, delivered in Faneuil Hall, Boston, August 2, 1826. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, and Company, 1826
  34. ^ Timothy Fuller. An oration, delivered at Faneuil Hall, Boston, July 11, 1831: at the request of the Suffolk Anti-Masonic Committee. 1831
  35. ^ Edward Everett. Eulogy on Lafayette: delivered in Faneuil hall, at the request of the young men of Boston, September 6, 1834. Boston: N. Hale, 1834
  36. ^ The freedom speech of Wendell Phillips: Faneuil Hall, December 8, 1837, with descriptive letters from eye witnesses. Boston: Wendell Phillips Hall Association, 1890
  37. ^ First Exhibition and Fair of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. 1837
  38. ^ Remarks of the Hon. Peleg Sprague at Faneuil Hall: before the citizens of Boston and its vicinity, upon the character and services of Gen. William Henry Harrison, of Ohio, the Whig candidate for the presidency of the United States. Boston: Whig Republican Assoc., 1839
  39. ^ Charles Francis Adams. An oration, delivered before the City Council and citizens of Boston, in Faneuil Hall, on the sixty-seventh anniversary of the Declaration of Independence: July 4th, 1843. Boston: J. H. Eastburn, City printer, 1843
  40. ^ Edward Everett. A eulogy on the life and character of John Quincy Adams: delivered at the request of the legislature of Massachusetts, in Faneuil hall, April 15, 1848. Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, state printers, 1848
  41. ^ Boston slave riot, and trial of Anthony Burns: Containing the report of the Faneuil Hall meeting, the murder of Batchelder, Theodore Parker's Lesson for the day, speeches of counsel on both sides, corrected by themselves, a verbatim report of Judge Loring's decision, and detailed account of the embarkation. Boston: Fetridge and Co., 1854
  42. ^ Speech of Gen. A. J. Hamilton, of Texas, at the war meeting at Faneuil hall, Saturday evening, April 18, 1863. Boston: Press of T. R. Marvin & son, 1863
  43. ^ Savannah and Boston: account of the supplies sent to Savannah ; with the Last appeal of Edward Everett in Faneuil Hall ; The letter to the mayor of Savannah ; and, The proceedings of the citizens, and letter of the mayor of Savannah. Boston: J. Wilson, 1865
  44. ^ Parks for the people: Proceedings of a public meeting held at Faneuil hall, June 7, 1876. Boston: Franklin press: Rand, Avery, & co., 1876
  45. ^ Proceedings of the indignation meeting held in Faneuil Hall, Thursday evening, August 1, 1878: to protest against the injury done to the freedom of the press by the conviction and imprisonment of Ezra H. Heywood. B.R. Tucker, 1878
  46. ^ Eben Norton Horsford. Discovery of America by Northmen: address at the unveiling of the statue of Leif Eriksen, delivered in Faneuil Hall, Oct. 29, 1887. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1888
  47. ^ "At the Cradle of Liberty," The New York Age, front page, Saturday, August 9, 1890.
  48. ^ Socialism: a speech delivered in Faneuil hall, February 7th, 1903, by Frederic J. Stimson ... in joint debate with James F. Carey. Boston: The Old Corner Book Store, Inc., 1903
  49. ^ Mass meetings of protest against the suppression of truth about the Philippines, Faneuil hall, Thursday, March 19, 1903.
  50. ^ "Grasshopper Weather Vane on Faneuil Hall Is Stolen". New York Times. January 6, 1974. p. 54.

Further reading

External links[edit]

Preceded by Locations along Boston's Freedom Trail
Faneuil Hall
Succeeded by