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Old State House, Boston

4.4
The Old State House is a historic building in Boston, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Washington and State Streets. Built in 1713, it was the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798, and is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. One of the landmarks on Boston's Freedom Trail, it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, and now serves as a history museum operated by the Bostonian Society. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1994.
The Massachusetts Town House: seat of colony government 1713–1776Today's brick Old State House was built in 1712–13, possibly designed by Robert Twelves; the previous building, the wooden Town House of 1657, had burned in the fire of 1711. A notable feature was the pair of seven-foot tall wooden figures depicting a lion and unicorn, symbols of the British monarchy.
The building housed a Merchant's Exchange on the first floor and warehouses in the basement. On the second floor, the east side contained the Council Chamber of the Royal Governor while the west end of the second floor contained chambers for the Courts of Suffolk County and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The central portion contained the chambers for the elected Massachusetts Assembly. This chamber is notable for including public galleries, the first known example of such a feature being included in a chamber for elected officials in the English-speaking world.
To visit Old State House and other attractions in Boston, use our Boston online travel planner.
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Old State House Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,355 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Definitely worth the price of admission. Our whole group agreed that this was the best stop on the Freedom Trail. Don’t miss the docent’s talk about the Boston Massacre . Our whole group (ages 8-50...  more »
  • My husband and I passed it as part of the Freedom Trail and then several other times during our trip to Boston due to it being near our hotel. Though we didn't visit the museum, we went inside to see....  more »
Google
  • The Old State House was interesting, but not overly interesting. The exhibition space is rather small - and that is fine, but the astounding $10 for a student ticket is an overkill for what the House has to show on the inside. I understand that it is a historical house and a lot of funds are needed for its preservation. However, the exhibition was not that fascinating. A highlight of my visit was the free, 30-minute long performance of some historical meetings that took place in the House and in Philadelphia, that were significant in the American Revolution. I also enjoyed the interactive part of the kids-focused exhibition, where you could experience some of the different smells that were inspired by certain places and times in Boston.
  • Excellent displays on the start of the fight for liberty. Highlights have to be the talks that occur every 30 minutes during the day. If you use the Old Town Trolley tour, you get free entry to this site too. Highly recommended.

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