Massachusetts State House

David Davies

Weymouth, Canada

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One of the sights we took in in Boston, Massachusetts, USA last week. Wasn’t snowing too hard, just enough to be a nuisance!

(Wikipedia) The Massachusetts State House, also called Massachusetts Statehouse or the “New” State House, is the state capitol and seat of government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is located at Boston in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The building houses the Massachusetts General Court (state legislature) and the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts.

The building is situated on 6.7 acres (27,000 m²) of land on top of Beacon Hill in Boston. It was built on land once owned by John Hancock, Massachusetts’s first elected governor.

Before the current State House was completed in 1798, Massachusetts’s government sat in the Old State House on Court Street. In his design for the building, architect Charles Bulfinch was inspired by two London buildings: William Chambers’s Somerset House, and James Wyatt’s Pantheon.

A major expansion of the original building was done in 1898. The architect for the annex was Bostonian Charles Brigham.

In 1917 the east and west wings were completed. Designed by architects Sturgis, Chapman & Andrews.

The original wood dome, which leaked, was covered with copper in 1802 by Paul Revere’s company. (Paul Revere was the first American to successfully roll copper into sheets in a commercially viable manner.)

The dome was first painted gray and then light yellow before being gilded with gold leaf in 1874. During WWII, the dome was once again painted, this time black or gray (depending on the source), to prevent reflections during blackouts and to protect the city and building from bombing attacks. In 1997, at a cost of more than $300,000, the dome was re-gilded, in 23k gold. The gold dome means that a president came from the state.

The dome is topped with a pine cone, symbolizing both the importance of Boston’s lumber industry in the early colonial days and of the state of Maine, which was a district of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when the Bulfinch section of the building was completed.

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