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Old State House, Boston

4.3
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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Old State House Reviews
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  • October 3, 2017
    To see and learn about the Old State House was phenomenal. I couldn't help but picture myself standing in front of the balcony listening to the declaration being read back in 1776. They have "english ...  more »
  • October 2, 2017
    Historic building that has been well preserved. A stone area fronting the building indicates where the Boston Massacre occurred. The subway entrance is in the bottom of this building and doors seem to...  more »
  • October 2, 2017
    Great Historic location and lovely to look at!! In a very central part of Boston that is close to other attractions, making it easy to add as a pitstop in your busy day!  more »
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  • July 9, 2017
    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.
  • June 29, 2017
    This was somewhat cool to visit although more impressive on the outside than the inside. The think that makes this building important is its age and how it was around in an earlier form during the Boston Massacre. As it's one of the stops on the Revolutionary Trail, don't skip over it. I learned a thing or two from the displays upstairs, presented intelligently.
  • June 17, 2017
    Wow amazing to know the building is still up! And used as a train station !! You can come here every July 4th at around 10AM and they will read you the Declaration of Independence like when they first got it and made everyone gather around to read it! It's a tradition!
  • June 10, 2017
    One of the best spots on the Freedom Trail. We went to the talk about the Boston Massacre and our guide was super knowledgeable and informative. The rest of the museum is great as well.
  • July 6, 2017
    Site of historical significance. It's just a cool building with a ton of architectural symbolism that was almost torn down and lost to history.

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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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