In the eighteenth century, the Bunch of Grapes Tavern occupied this propitious site, then at the head of Long Wharf. The late-nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival facade of the old Stock Exchange remains at the corner of State and Kilby streets, a survivor of a battle between the Boston Landmark Commission and developers Olympia and York. This granite facade bears little relation to its adjoining forty-story office tower, a striking reflective blue glass ruled by an overall black metal grid. Even greater incongruity is apparent upon entering the setback five-story atrium of the tower, where the white marble grand stairway of the original building serves as a dismembered backdrop. Once aligned with the exchange's State Street entrance, this staircase now providing a theatrical ploy is outfitted with the standard potted palms and ficus trees enframed by a mirrored chrome ceiling and colossal columns. Questions regarding the validity of partial preservation were raised by this incongruous juxtaposition, which remains a point of contention.
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Stock Exchange Building and Exchange Place
1889–1891, Peabody and Stearns; 1981–1984 reuse and facade restoration and tower additions, WZMH Group. 53 State St.
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