What is Faneuil Hall?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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Faneuil Hall is a Boston landmark which also played a very important role in American history. The site today is a popular spot with visitors as part of Boston's “Freedom Trail,” a tour which allows visitors to see a number of American Revolution-related monuments and sites. Bostonians also utilize Faneuil Hall for many of the same functions that it was designed for originally, including town hall meetings, debates, and markets.

The building was constructed in 1742 and funded by Peter Faneuil, a Boston merchant. In 1761, Faneuil Hall burned down, and it was reconstructed to the original specifications, which included open arcades on the ground floor for traders and merchants, and offices in the upper story. 45 years later, the hall was modified and radically expanded upwards and outward to accommodate the growing needs of the residents of Boston.

This site has been the famous setting of numerous speeches and meetings, including one of the first recorded town hall meetings in the United States. Noted orators such as Samuel Adams spoke in Faneuil Hall to argue for liberation from Britain, and the site is sometimes referred to as the “Cradle of Freedom” in reference to these notable events. For participants in the American Revolution, Faneuil Hall was a symbol of their struggles, and a favorite gathering site.


Modern day Faneuil Hall has been kept largely true to its roots, with some updates to the interior to make it safer, comfortable, and more modern. The famous grasshopper weather vane continues to hold pride of place on the building, and the building looks like a throwback to the past in the midst of the modern structures which surround it. Like other historical structures on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, Faneuil Hall is largely constructed from brick, and the brick has been left exposed so that people can see the details of the brickwork.

Faneuil Hall is located inside Boston National Historical Park. Most parts of the building are open to the public and free to access, and visitors can also stroll from the hall to Boston's famous waterfront and a number of neighboring sites of interest. Certain events at the hall may require people to obtain tickets, to ensure that the building will not be crowded beyond capacity, especially when these events feature people of political, social, or cultural interest as guests of honor speaking or performing at Faneuil Hall.


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