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Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel

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1912, Clarence H. Blackall and Henry Hardenbergh. 138 St. James Ave.
  • Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

On this site stood John Hubbard Sturgis's original Museum of Fine Arts (1876), an extravaganza of Ruskinian ornament in red brick and terra-cotta, until the museum moved to its new Huntington Avenue building in 1907. Its replacement, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, a seven-story Italian Renaissance palazzo, has a worthy pedigree, a collaboration of noted Boston theater architect Clarence H. Blackall and Henry Hardenbergh, designer of the Dakota apartments and the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Bookended by triumphal entrance porticoes, its swellfront facade of rusticated limestone and pale brick demonstrates the period's affinity for grandeur in monochrome: a dowager attired in modest gray. The marbled, gilded and mural-decorated public spaces, culminating in the grand ballroom, are less subdued.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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