Another Boston Castle


By: Untitled Document Brandon Gary Lovested


  The Flour and Grain Exchange

Flour and Grain Exchange Building
Inaugurated January 20, 1892
Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge

(now Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott)

Another castle in Boston! The Flour and Grain Exchange building, which was originally created for the consolidation of two corporate trade bodies - the Boston Commercial Exchange and the Boston Produce Exchange that later became the Boston Chamber of Commerce in 1885.

The building was designed by the architecture firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, which is now Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, and constructed upon land donated by Henry M. Whitney, an influential developer (who built the first electric-powered streetcar ride in Allston-Brighton in December 1888).

The rusticated masonry and multi-tiered arches exemplify the Richardsonian Romanesque style associated with H.H. Richardson, the architecture firm's original principal. The impressive walls and bold appearance reflect an expression of financial security that was appropriate to the city’s commercial circles.


The excavation for the building was begun in the early part of May 1890. The corner stone was laid Sept. 29, 1890. The building was completed in January 1892.

The building stands on piles, each pile holding seven and one-half tons. The foundation is made of granite, the basement walls being lined with hollow brick. The basement floor of the building is composed of one foot of Portland cement concrete, on which is laid a course of tarred paper, on which the wooden floors are placed. The boiler-room floor, being below high-water mark, has two feet of Portland cement concrete on the bottom and on the sides, and then covered with brick.

The exterior walls of the building are made of pink Worcester Quarry granite from Milford, Mass., and are backed with solid brick and faced on the inside with hollow brick, the plaster of the rooms being placed directly on the hollow brick.

The floors of the vestibules and lower corridors are laid with marble tile, and the vestibules and lower corridors are wainscoted with white Italian marble. All corridors above the first story are wainscoted in oak, with rift sawed yellow pine floors. The Board Room is wainscoted thirteen feet high in panelled oak, with maple floor, and the domed ceiling made of iron and plastered.

The pyramidal roof is made of iron covered with black slate, the slate being tied to the iron frame with copper wire. The floors and ceilings of the offices in the sixth and seventh stories over the Board Room are suspended from this roof. All the interior finish of the building is quartered oak.

* Additional material provided by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott

Untitled Document

Brandon Gary Lovested is a contributing writer to iBoston, as well as its Webmaster.

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