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Old State House

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites Downtown
Old State House
Photograph: Shutterstock

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Incongruously but elegantly set in the midst of modern skyscrapers and congested traffic, this former legislative house is the oldest surviving public building in Boston. It was built in 1713 for the British governor (notice the lion and unicorn still standing regally atop the building's façade) and the colonial legislature. Proclamations, including the 1776 Declaration of Independence, were read in this building, often from the balcony on the east side. The area below the balcony was the scene of the Boston Massacre in 1770 (commemorated by a ring of cobblestones), when British soldiers fired on an unruly crowd, killing five men. Among them was Crispus Attucks, a black man recorded as the first casualty of the American Revolution. After Independence, the State House remained the seat of Massachusetts government until Bulfinch completed his imposing new legislative building on Beacon Hill. Today, it serves as the headquarters of the Bostonian Society, the historical society for the city, along with its library and museum. The collection covers the early colonial period to the present, including relics such as John Hancock's red velvet coat and embroidered waistcoat, tea from the infamous Tea Party and an engraving of the Massacre by Paul Revere.



Address: 206 Washington Street
at State Street

Transport: State T .
Price: Admission $5; $1-$4 reductions.
Opening hours: Open 9am-5pm daily.
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