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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Massachusetts Old State House - Original and One Copy

A copy can sometimes tell its own original story. We mentioned the Avenue of States at the Eastern States Exposition a couple of weeks ago in this post. Above is the replica of the Old Massachusetts State House.

Here is the original. Built in 1713, it was the scene of the debate for Revolution by men such as John Hancock, James Otis, John Adams, and Sam Adams. Just outside its door one terrible night, the Boston Massacre roused a colony to rebel.

There had once been the figure of a lion atop the building’s fa├žade, with a unicorn on the other side. These were symbols of the British monarchy. They’re not here now.

But you see them on the replica at the fairgrounds in West Springfield, which was built in 1919.

The Old Statehouse served until 1798, when the new one was built, and this building was turned over to a variety of uses, such as Boston’s city hall, a merchant exchange, and shops. Since 1881 when the Bostonian Society restored the building, it has served as a museum, one of the stops on the Freedom Trail.

The replica, back in western Mass., is noted for selling quantities of maple syrup during the fair, and for this unwieldy but impressive replica of The Mayflower.

No massacre occurred outside its door, but there are quite long lines during the fair. We may have a different sense of hardship in the 21st century.

For more on the Old Statehouse (the real one), have a look at this website.


Daud said...


I work at the Old State House in Boston and I was pleased to find this article. Strangely I hadn't heard of the Replica of our building in West Springfield. I had heard of the Weymoth town hall- which is also a replica. (That makes 3 Old State Houses in MA if you count the original!)

I do want to point out, however, that the Old State House still has a lion and unicorn on it! The side that you have in the picture is actually the back of the building and the eagle was added there in the 1880s.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thank you so much for correcting me on the point I made about the lion and unicorn atop the Old State House. I'll need to check out the front of the building a little more closely next time I'm in town. I'd also like to take a look at the Weymouth town hall -- I hadn't known about that replica. Thanks again.

Daud said...

No problem, come visit us any time!

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