Faneuil Hall is a historic building located adjacent to the Quincy Market building in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally, this was a two-story brick building in Georgian style facing Congress Street. The Hall, named after its builder - a French Huguenot merchant Peter Faneuil - was constructed and donated to the town in 1742.
During a fire in 1761, the building was destroyed but was immediately reconstructed according to the original plan of its designer, the Scottish portrait painter John Smibert. The Hall was reopened to the public in 1763.
The political maneuverings here by American patriots between 1764 and 1774 earned Faneuil Hall its long-standing nickname "Cradle of Liberty."
The growth of the town in 19th century made it necessary for the expansion of the small building. Thus, according to the design of Charles Bulfinch, Faneuil Hall was substantially enlarged and remodeled in 1806. Bulfinch doubled the building's width and added a third floor. It remained the center of Boston political debate until well into the 1900s.
During the 1970s, the building underwent a major internal renovation. Inside the Hall are dozens of paintings of famous Americans, including the mural of Webster's Reply to Hayne and Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Washington at Dorchester Heights.
Since its opening, the first floor of the building continues to operate as a market. Most of the stores offer handicrafts where their predecessors sold food. Also are the local souvenir stores which offer a wide variety of traditional Boston memorabilia (t-shirts, magnets, view-books).
The second floor is primarily taken up by the Great Hall, where Boston's town meetings were once held. Now operated by the U.S. National Park Service in cooperation with the Boston National Historical Park, this beautiful and quiet room is a great place to rest and reflect in the middle of a busy day. One can learn about the history of Faneuil Hall from the lectures of one of the Rangers which is delivered every half hour.
The third floor houses the museum and armory of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.
The building also has to its credit, the privilege of hosting America's first town meeting as well as John F. Kennedy's last campaign speech. Just past Faneuil Hall along Freedom Trail, are Curley Park, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Boston Stone.