In 1740, Peter Faneuil offered the marketplace as a gift to the city, which he knew could become a centralized market to bring the city closer together. The decision to build the market was highly controversial amongst the citizens and clergymen of the city, and a Boston Town Meeting vote to build the market only passed with 367 to 360 votes. The market took two years to build and opened in September of 1742. It was later named Faneuil Hall in remembrance of Peter Faneuil when he died in 1743.
Faneuil Hall was severely damaged by a fire in 1761, completely destroying the interior which had to be heavily repaired and renovated. The markets of Faneuil Hall were moved to the surrounding buildings built in 1827 known today as Quincy Market.
The prominent feature of the hall is what is on top of the cupola dome: a grasshopper weathervane. A founding quote is written on a bronze plaque on the east side of the building which reads…
“This is Faneuil Hall the Cradle of Liberty
Built and given to the town of Boston by Peter Faneuil 1742
Still used by a free people in 1930.”
The inside of Faneuil Hall has three major areas: the marketplace, the Great Hall, and the Commandery Room. With its rows of folding chairs and tiered risers, the Great Hall is used as an auditorium, and with all of the paintings and art work that line the walls, it has also traditionally been used as a gallery.
Many cities around the world have a commonplace where citizens can gather to socialize or see events. Boston’s Faneuil Hall serves for this exact purpose, and has been around for much of Boston’s development and political history.
Faneuil Hall’s popularity arises from its historical context as both a political gathering place and a central distributor of food and other goods. In its beginnings, the Hall was used for many political and religious groups to gather and discuss issues. Most of the events that took place in the hall were recorded, and many of them directly mirrored Boston’s history and social issues such as immigration or any political differences. Although politics do not happen much at the Hall anymore, people still gather to see shows and rallies.
Initially brought up as an upgrade to Boston’s central point as retail and goods distributor, Faneuil Hall is still an effective marketplace today, as many people still go there to shop for food and products. If the small shows and “historic feel” did not attract a passerby, the markets and shops are enough to grab some attention.
Faneuil Hall is a popular tourist attraction in Boston and one of the main reasons for that is because it is historically significant to not only to city of Boston, but America as a whole. This is because Faneuil Hall and the surrounding markets were a focal point in the American Revolution. While the Americans were protesting the taxes and acts declared by Great Britain, they held many speeches and rallies at Faneuil Hall in the large galleries. It was an important public gathering place for colonists to express their feelings and increase support for the war. Samuel Adams, leader of the Sons of Liberty, gave many speeches at Faneuil Hall since he was leading the revolt against Great Britain. George Washington even gave a few speeches at Faneuil Hall.
Aside from the public gathering in Faneuil Hall, the marketplaces outside also provided a boost to the economy which allowed the colonists to purchase weapons and form an army. Having these markets stimulated the economy because people loved to gather in this central location in Boston and buy different foods and goods. Overall, Faneuil Hall had a huge historical significance to the colonists during the American Revolution.