Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Boston, Massachusetts

Faneuil Hall

A former waterfront market is now in the center of town due to some interesting Boston engineering. 

When Faneuil Hall was built in 1742, the marketplace was on the water’s edge - a convenient spot for a place of commerce in the eighteenth century.

As the centuries passed, the marshy and downright open water that covered much of Boston - including large swaths of the landlocked North End - were filled in, either by garbage and construction refuse that was later covered with dirt, or intentionally as the city redesigned itself many times over. Alas, the waterfront property at Faneuil Hall is no more, and although the structure itself remains, it has been redesigned and renovated several times since its construction. The only piece that remains true to the 1742 design is the copper grasshopper weathervane that sits atop the roof.

This central spot for shopping, eating, and outdoor entertainment in the North End was a popular meeting place for early colonists as well. Early patriots and present day residents sometimes refer to the Hall as the “Cradle of Liberty”: the first meetings and schemings against England took place along the Harbor and in the taverns and restaurants in and around Faneuil Hall.

The assembly inside the building is over two stories high and decorated with busts of political figures and murals of important moments in Boston history. Voters met to incorporate the city here in 1822.