You are here

Richards Block

-A A +A
1858, Edward C. Cabot. 114 State St.
  • Richards Block (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

Most of the commercial buildings constructed with cast-iron facades were built prior to the Great Boston Fire of 1872, at which time many were destroyed. The Richards Block provides one of the oldest surviving examples of a cast-iron facade. Constructed in 1858 for the Shaw Estate, it was designed by Edward C. Cabot. As originally constructed, the building was five stories with a small mansard roof. An additional two stories with projecting rectangular corner turrets were added about 1889 by Calvin Richards. Despite the additional floors, the original arcaded facade, which utilizes a mixture of single and paired columns, survives. Smith and Felton manufactured the cast iron in East Boston. From 1870 to 1873, the building served as the headquarters for Atlantic Boiler Company of East Boston (EB8).

Adjoining this structure at 116 State Street is the Cunard Building (NRD). Designed in 1902 by Peabody and Stearns, this structure is important primarily for its historical associations with the famous shipping line.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Richards Block", [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, 49-49.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.