The headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company
is located on the 4th floor of Faneuil Hall. The original
building was built in 1742 and given to the town of Boston
by French Huguenot merchant Peter Faneuil. Peter Faneuil had
inherited his wealth from his uncle Andrew and offered to
build the hall and donate it to the city as its first market.
At a town meeting the gift was accepted by a vote of 367 to
360 (it was opposed by the food pushcart vendors). When completed
the building included an open market and meeting space for
town gatherings. The building stood on landfill that was originally
a small cove near the ancient and dilapidated town dock. The
hall was destroyed by fire in 1761 and was reconstructed through
funds collected in a public lottery.
Faneuil Hall soon became a center of politics. The Sons of
Liberty, Samuel Adams, James Otis and Dr. Joseph Warren stirred
political opposition and planned revolutionary activities.
These political maneuverings earned Faneuil Hall its long-standing
nickname, "Cradle of Liberty".
Over time the building became too small to serve the needs
of the city. Charles Bullfinch the architect who had completed
the new State House was selected to expand the hall and redesign
the interior. Bullfinch doubled the buliding's height and
width thus keeping the original outside walls. A third floor
was added and the cupola was moved from the center of the
building to the east end. The new building was now nearly
twice its original size.
By the 1820s dairy merchants and other began to use the hall
as a marketplace. Soon, Mayor Josiah Quincy set aside land
for an open-air produce market and by 1825 the cornerstone
of the new Quincy Market was laid. The 1822 city charter ended
government by town meeting. However, Faneuil Hall remained
the center of Boston's political activities well into the
1900s. By the early 1970s the building had fallen into disrepair
and almost all the merchants had vacated.
Mayor Kevin White entered into a public-private partnership
with Maryland developer James Rouse to create a "festival
marketplace." In August 1976 the marketplace opened as
part of the city's bicentennial celebration. Faneuil Hall's
first floor is the location of handicrafts and souvenir stores
offering a variety of Boston memorabilia. Food vendors also
occupy booth space. The second floor is the location of the
Great Hall where town meetings were once held. The Great Hall
is operated by the National Park Service.
The Great Hall contains paintings including that of George
Healy depicting Webster Replying to Hayne. Daniel Webster,
Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass, John F. Kennedy and Wendell
Phillips delivered speeches in this hall.
The top floor is the location of the
and armory of the
Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.
More information on the headquarters of the A&HAC is
available on the following pages:
Museum | Armory
| Library |
Stairway of the Constitution
| Directions and