July 27, 2022

Getting into Boston for our tour of the Massachusetts State House wasn’t too bad although we are still learning how the Ram’s navigation system gives directions and so were afforded more of a tour of downtown Boston than we wanted. Parking was bad. We had called ahead and asked where we should park and were told to park in the garage under Boston Common. [We’re still imagining how that construction was accomplished.] What we weren’t told was that there is a height limit for the garage of 6’3″. We discovered that after we were on the ramp to enter the garage. There was no turn around. We didn’t know how tall we were but we have a pretty good idea now because we scraped the sign that hangs where tickets are dispensed. We made our way cautiously through the garage wondering if at any minute we would take off our antenna or flood the garage after accidental contact with one of the many pipes above our heads. Spoiler alert: We made it out of the garage and now know to check the height of underground parking facilities.

By the time we had gotten to this point there was another car behind us on the ramp.
Inches to spare?
We wondered just what was in all those pipes.
The front of the Sate House is the oldest part of the building and opened in 1798. It was designed by Charles Bulfinch and was built on the former site of John Hancock’s cow pasture.
Paul Revere was hired to cover the dome with copper sheeting in 1802. The dome was covered with gold in 1872.
The pinecone on top of the dome honors the area’s lumber industry.
Doric Hall is the main hall of the original State House.
The first piece of artwork placed in Doric Hall was this statue of George Washington by Sir Francis Chantrey of London. He sought to depict Washington as a man of the people rather than a military hero.
Doric Hall also includes a portrait of Abraham Lincoln by A. Bicknell. It is unusual because it shows Lincoln standing.
The stained glass in the ceiling of Doric Hall features republics founded before the United States.
Nurses Hall, originally the Senate Staircase Hall, is the entrance to an addition designed by Charles Brigham and completed in 1895. The statue of a Civil War nurse tending to a fallen soldier is a memorial to all nurses who took part in the Civil War. It was sculpted in 1914 by Bela Pratt.
The Brigham addition makes extensive use of marble, wrought iron, and wood paneling.
Three paintings by Robert Reid show the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, James Otis arguing against the Writs of Assistance, and the Boston Tea Party.
Ceiling in Nurses Hall
Detail of ceiling in Nurse’s Hall
Memorial Hall is also known as the Hall of Flags and honors veterans.
Murals include The Pilgrims on the Mayflower, The Return of the Colors at the end of the Civil War, John Eliot preaching to the Indians, and The Battle of Concord Bridge.
The Landing of the Mayflower
The originals of 400 flags carried to battle by Massachusetts men from Civil War to the Viet Nam conflict are stored in climate controlled vaults but transparencies, including this one of the 9th Massachusetts volunteers, are on display.
This flag of the 21st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was carried in the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg.
Stained glass ceiling in Memorial Hall
The stained glass features seals of the original 13 states.
Center of stained glass in Memorial Hall
Dave and Jane in Memorial Hall.
Dave in front of the Main Staircase
View from the Main Staircase
Stained glass windows on the landing of the Main Staircase show the evolution of the Massachusetts Seal.
After the iron on the main staircase was cast, the molds were broken to ensure that the railings would be one of a kind.
Entry to the Governor’s Office

Our tour did not include the chamber of the House of Representatives.

The Senate Chambers are located in the original Bullfinch section of the building.
There are 40 Senators who are elected for two-year terms.
Decorations above the Speaker’s rostrum in the Senate
Dave and Jane in the Senate Chambers
Ceiling in the Senate Chambers
Entrance to Senate offices
The Senate Reception room was the original Senate Chamber.
Massachusetts Seal
A walk through the Boston Public Garden on the way back to the car let us appreciate this “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture.
Categories: Travel

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