- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Old State House
Old State House Review
This colonial-era landmark has one of the most recognizable facades in Boston, with its State Street gable adorned by a brightly gilded lion and unicorn, symbols of British imperial power. The original figures were pulled down in 1776. For proof that bygones are bygones, consider not only the restoration of the sculptures in 1880 but also that Queen Elizabeth II was greeted by cheering crowds on July 4, 1976, when she stood on the Old State House balcony (from which the Declaration of Independence was first read in public in Boston and which overlooks the site of the Boston Massacre).
This was the seat of the colonial government from 1713 until the Revolution, and after the evacuation of the British from Boston in 1776 it served the independent Commonwealth until its replacement on Beacon Hill was completed in 1798. John Hancock was inaugurated here as the first governor under the new state constitution.
Like many other colonial-era landmarks, it fared poorly in the years that followed. Nineteenth-century photos show the old building with a mansard roof and signs in the windows advertising assorted businesses. In the 1830s the Old State House served as Boston's City Hall. When demolition was threatened in 1880 because the real estate was so valuable, the Bostonian Society organized a restoration, after which the Old State House reopened with a permanent collection that traces Boston's Revolutionary War history. Just outside the Old State House, at 15 State Street, is a visitor center run by the National Park Service; it offers free brochures and also has restrooms.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
Falmouth in the Fall-a week on the Cape
Day One-Thanks to a gift from good friend we enjoyed a timeshare week in Falmouth, Mass. Read more
JetBlue had a special of $97 RT from Houston to Boston, so I jumped on it! Read more
I will be driving Sunday Morning from Cosco Maine thru Portland all the way to NYC
any advice of an inside place to stop by not too far from the highways, could be in ME, Mass or Conn
Thank you Read more
· News & Features
Beantown may be cooling down this season, but its culinary scene is only getting hotter.... Read more
Eclectic, sophisticated, and perfectly situated, Boston's new Boxer Hotel is your ideal new Beantown home... Read more
This week has been a strange and tragic one and we've followed the events in Boston with heavy hearts... Read more