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Kirstein Business Branch, Boston Public Library

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1930, Putnam and Cox. 20 City Hall Ave.
  • Kirstein Business Branch, Boston Public Library (Keith Morgan)

Putnam and Cox were well known for their interest in replicating architectural features from the Georgian and Federal periods. Fronting a pedestrian passage from Old City Hall (BD8) that links School and Court streets, this Georgian Revival building imitates the central pavilion of architect Bulfinch's Tontine Crescent. Kirstein Business Branch of the Boston Public Library has the standard vocabulary of the late eighteenth century—a pedimented brick facade and a central Palladian window flanked by pairs of Ionic pilasters; the ground level has been insensitively remodeled. Built in 1794 and demolished in about 1858, the Tontine Crescent was one of the major designs of Bulfinch's career. Although not easily visible to the public, the Kirstein building provides a memory of that long-lost monument.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Kirstein Business Branch, Boston Public Library", [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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