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Old City Hall

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1865, Gridley J. F. Bryant and Arthur Gilman; 1969–1970 renovation, Anderson Notter Associates. 45 School St.
  • Old City Hall (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Photograph by Robert S. Salzar)
  • (Photograph by Robert S. Salzar)

On the site of the first public school in the United States, set back by a handsome courtyard from School Street, this Second Empire building is related to contemporary expansions of the Louvre in Paris. A mansard roof crowns a well-proportioned four-story projecting pavilion. Interiors that were once lavish have been sensitively converted for use by civic and commercial offices and a well-appointed restaurant. Flanking the building, two onetime Bostonians in bronze are elevated on stone pedestals—Benjamin Franklin with basreliefs celebrating his life, and Josiah Quincy, mayor of Boston (1823–1828) and president of Harvard University (1829–1845). In 1914, Edward T. P. Graham designed the massive Classical Revival City Hall Annex, at 26 Court Street behind Old City Hall, now used by the Board of Education. This monumental pile is all that remains of a 1911 scheme to replace Old City Hall with a massive structure between School and Court streets.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Old City Hall", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 59-59.

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