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Ames Building

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1889, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. 1 Court St.
  • Ames Building (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

The second tallest masonry self-supporting building in the world, this thirteen-story office building is Boston's first skyscraper in terms of its elevator-facilitated height, but not in terms of engineering. Unlike contemporary tall office buildings in Chicago, the Ames Building did not employ a metal structure to support the interior floors and exterior walls. The massive, three-story base of Milford granite is surmounted by a ten-story tower of Ohio sandstone on the Court Street and Washington Mall facades. Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, successors to H. H. Richardson, employed but complicated the powerful fenestration scheme that Richardson had used for his Marshall Field Wholesale Store (1885–1887) in Chicago to produce a landmark building for one of the firm's major Boston clients.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Ames Building", [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, 51-51.

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