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Boston Sights

U.S. Custom House

  • 3 McKinley Sq. Map It
  • Downtown
  • Building/Architectural Site

Updated 11/12/2013

Fodor's Review

This 1847 structure resembles a Greek Revival temple that appears to have sprouted a tower. It's just that. This is the work of architects Ammi Young and Isaiah Rogers—at least, the bottom part is. The tower was added in 1915, at which time the Custom House became Boston's tallest building. It remains one of the most visible and best loved structures in the city's skyline. To appreciate the grafting job, go inside and look at the domed rotunda. The outer surface of that dome was once the roof of the building, but now the dome is embedded in the base of the tower.

The federal government moved out of the Custom House in 1987 and sold it to the city of Boston, which, in turn, sold it to the Marriott Corporation, which has converted the building into hotel space and luxury time-share units, a move that disturbed some historical purists. You can now sip a cocktail in the hotel's Counting Room Lounge after 6pm, or visit the 26th-floor observation deck for a fee. The magnificent Rotunda Room sports maritime prints and antique artifacts, courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

Sight Information


3 McKinley Sq., Boston, Massachusetts, 02109, United States

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Updated 11/12/2013


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