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Faneuil Hall

Christened the Cradle of Liberty, Faneuil Hall’s vital role in revolutionary politics hadn't been part of its original plans, but they became an intricate collection of events that shaped the nation's history. Peter Faneuil, a wealthy merchant, built Faneuil Hall as a center of commerce in 1742. While Boston's landmark market stalls on the first floor house successful shops, today it is the second floor meeting hall that has the greater legacy.

It was at Faneuil Hall in 1764 that Americans first protested against the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act, setting the doctrine that would come to be known as no taxation without representation. Gatherings to protest the Stamp Act, the Townshend Act, and the Redcoat occupation would follow, as would one of the first in a series of meetings that would culminate in the Boston Tea Party. The statue of Samuel Adams in front of Faneuil Hall could not be better placed, for it was here that he did his greatest work, dominating town meetings and staging a funeral for the victims of the Boston Massacre. The third floor is Headquarters for the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, the third oldest chartered military organization in the world and the oldest in the western hemisphere.

Following the Revolution and to this day, Boston's Faneuil Hall, located on the Freedom Trail and next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, has retained its position as a stage for debate. Faneuil Hall was rebuilt 1763 when it burned down. Charles Bulfinch redesigned the current building in 1805.

THE GRASSHOPPER The most famous weathervane in Boston is Faneuil Hall’s golden grasshopper. Peter Faneuil commissioned the grasshopper from acclaimed craftsman Shem Drowne, whose weathervane also tops the Old North Church. Tradition has it that the weathervane was used during the War of 1812 to spot spies. Anyone who did not know the answer to the question What is on top of Faneuil Hall? in those days invited suspicion.

LAND OF THE FREE Twenty four times a year, between 300 to 500 new citizens take the Oath of Allegiance at Faneuil Hall and are sworn in as new citizens.

SHOP-TIL YOU DROP Don’t mix up historic Faneuil Hall with Faneuil Hall Marketplace – the bustling commercial center located just behind historic Faneuil Hall. The series of restored 19th Century buildings is the most visited location in Boston.

Freedom Trail Foundation tours that feature this site:
Walk Into History Tour
Walk Into Hisitory Tours — North End
Historic Holiday Stroll
African-American Patriots Tour
Historic Pub Crawl
Pirates & Patriots Tour

Faneuil Hall - Boston National Historical Park
617-242-5642
Open Daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Historical talks every thirty minutes, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/

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