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Old 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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  • The gift shop has almost everything and you can get tons of souvenirs here for cheaper than most places. I recommend the tour. If you are lucky and it's timed right, you can get 2 or 3 tours for the p...  more »
  • Enjoyed a visit to the Old State House today. Had the opportunity to be a part of three tours during my stay. All three were conducted by different young ladies who were well versed in the subject mat...  more »
  • It looks nothing at first, but it's really interesting once inside. Wait for the guided tours is a must! You learn a lot about the patriotism of the city and his training.
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  • This was the ninth and one of the most significant sites we visited along Boston's Freedom Trail. Be sure to visit the museum inside the building to learn about significant events in the city's history that took place here, such as the announcement of US independence from Britain from the building's balcony. The museum also describes past and present preservation initiatives, including the effort to spare the building from demolition. The museum is small and can be visited in an hour or less. Fun fact: There is a subway station directly underneath the building, accessible via stairs adjacent to the museum entrance. The building had to be reinforced while the subway tunnel was being excavated.
  • I stayed for one of the last tours of the day. It was great to hear the history of this place in 25 minutes. Every should stop and see John Hancock's jacket as it won't be there for much longer!
  • Another great piece of American History. The golden lion atop the building represents England, the silver unicorn represents Scotland. Great historical exhibits inside.
  • I love this building. My tween daughter and I visited on July 4 and it definitely set the tone for the day. 1. Yes go inside. The small gift shop is free and the National Park Rangers are there to give you background on the place. 2. Once inside you can purchase a ticket to see the rest of the building. They do have presentations but otherwise you are on your own. Follow along the exhibit to get a thorough understanding of Boston's rebelliousness which sparked off the entire Colonial Revolution. Samuel Adams is not passed over, which is often the case, and you will also note that both sides of the Boston Massacre are presented fairly. 3. There are many little stops for children and hands-on exhibits. They will love this. 4. There is a room with an audio presentation - about 5 minutes long - which again does a good job of describing the Boston Massacre incident. 5. Don't miss: John Hancock’s attire, the tiny vial of tea taken from the Boston Tea Party, the upstairs Council room where you can sit in the Royal chair at the head of the table. This is included in the Boston Go Card. Not to be missed by anyone visiting the city to explore it's history. We were there for about 30 minutes.
  • One of the best place to see in Boston. Depicts history of America and Boston effectively. Exhibits on both floors are quite informational.

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Where to stay in Boston

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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