|Old Boston City Hall
Gridley J. Fox Bryant & Arthur Gillman, 1865
Old Boston City Hall provides incredible contrast to both
the current City
Hall, and to its predecessor the Old
State House where the City's first two mayors served.
Today Old City Hall stands gracefully as a private building. Its massive
lantern dome gives it a courtly feel, while the abundance of windows makes
it a clearly bright and open space. The strong upward thrust of its pilasters
which appear as columns is balanced by the hall's outstretched wings.
Arthur Gillman, was a French trained architect and by 1865 had already built
Arlington St. Church, and provided the French style design of Boston's Back
Bay addition. Gridley Bryant was a master of granite, and had designed a
wide variety of buildings including the striking Suffolk County Jail. The
building combines their strong suits. The Vendome Hotel and the Suffolk
County courthouse were both influenced by Old City Hall's success.
The courtyard before the building retains enough open space to provide an
air of monumentality. Flanking the entrance is a statue of Ben Franklin
to the left, and Josiah
Quincy, Boston's Second mayor to the right.
Today Old City Hall, made of white Concord granite, contains a mix of corporate
and civic offices, and Maison
Robert, an aptly located French restaurant. Happily, Old City Hall is
preserved without being antiqued, active without being destroyed, and still
commands its site unchallenged.