Massachusetts State House, Boston

4.4
The Old State House is an historic building in Boston, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Washington and State Streets. Built in 1713, it was the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798, and is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. One of the landmarks on Boston's Freedom Trail, it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, and now serves as a history museum operated by the Bostonian Society. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1994.HistoryThe Massachusetts Town House: seat of colony government 1713–1776Today's brick Old State House was built in 1712–13, possibly designed by Robert Twelves; the previous building, the wooden Town House of 1657, had burned in the fire of 1711. A notable feature was the pair of seven-foot tall wooden figures depicting a lion and unicorn, symbols of the British monarchy.The building housed a Merchant's Exchange on the first floor and warehouses in the basement. On the second floor, the east side contained the Council Chamber of the Royal Governor while the west end of the second floor contained chambers for the Courts of Suffolk County and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The central portion contained the chambers for the elected Massachusetts Assembly. This chamber is notable for including public galleries, the first known example of such a feature being included in a chamber for elected officials in the English-speaking world.
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Massachusetts State House Reviews
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  • It is the seat of Government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The building houses the Massachusetts General Court and the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts. The building, considered a masterpiece of federal architecture, was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch and completed in 1798. The dome was later covered in 23 k gold. Is situated in the charming neighborhood of Beacon Hill. Interior's visit is free and worth a lot by painted murals.
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  • The self-guided tour was all we had time for the morning we visited but it was a very informative tour and beautiful building. I loved the paintings!  more »
  • Had tour of State House and guide knew all there was to know about this place. It is free to visit. Great insight into past leaders of Boston.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful and historic building with an eye-catching dome. The building looks remarkably well-preserved after more than 200 years. Tours are available and must be booked in advance. They also offer a virtual tour on their website, which I thought is pretty informative. This was our second stop during our Freedom Trail walking tour of Boston.
  • My tween daughter and I enjoyed our visit here on Jul 3. Some tips: 1. Make sure you go all the way upstairs because as long as the legislature isn't in session you are welcome to go inside the chambers. 2. They have a lot of art and historical displays as you walk throughout the rooms, on several floors. We visited for about 20 minutes - I recommend the stop.
  • The security process at the main entrance is of concern. Not sure if the staff went to the same training programme as the TSA but when we put personal items through the scanner and they did not appear we asked where they had gone. No reply from any one. Completely deaf! No acknowledgement of anything we were saying. We did our own search! Item that had gone missing ( camera) found UNDER scanning machine ! How does that happen? This a working functional state house and not really worth a visit unless a tour is available which it wasn't.
  • The first step of the Freedom Trail and highly recommended. If you have time, go inside for the art work.
  • So yes, the building itself is definitely worth the visit/tour. However, I went there with my 2 impressionable young daughters and the clowns at the tourist info desk were embarrassing. All 5 of these young adults were dressed nicely. All but one we're on their cellphones. One was kicked back in the chair with his ear buds in. All were eating Chinese food. However, Not one of them could tell me any of the days agendas or direct me to where I needed to go. Pathetic. I truly hope theyre not getting paid. Bunch of buffoons....takes more than a nice tie - KNOW YOUR JOB SLOBS!

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To stay close to where most of Boston's tourist action is, book a room at one of the many hotels located downtown, near the center of the city and state governments, businesses, and shopping. For a more affordable option, consider a budget-friendly boutique hotel or small bed and breakfast in one of the city's diverse residential neighborhoods. If you plan to stay longer and need a real home away from home, explore Boston's short-term rental options, which include private villas, waterfront lofts, and luxury apartments scattered across the city's historical districts.
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