September 26, 2016 – Massachusetts State House– Massachusetts State House (Non-RV Post)

Returning to Cape Cod from New Hampshire, we again stopped in Boston, this time to visit the Massachusetts State Capitol, or State House.





The building is situated on 6.7 acres of land on top of Beacon Hill in Boston, opposite the Boston Common.  It was built on land once owned by John Hancock, Massachusetts's first elected governor.

The original wood dome, which leaked, was covered with copper in 1802 by Paul Revere’s  Copper Company.  Revere was the first American to roll copper successfully 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 World War II, the dome was painted once again, this time black or gray (depending on the source), to prevent reflection 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 dome is topped with a gilded, wooden pine cone, symbolizing both the importance of Boston's lumber industry during early colonial times and of the state of Maine, which was a district of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when the Bulfinch section of the building was completed.

massachusetts-state-house-rotunda-skylight-boston-ma-2016-09-26Rotunda Dome Skylight

massachusetts-state-house-rotunda-floor-a-boston-ma-2016-09-26Rotunda Floor

massachusetts-state-house-main-staircase-stained-glass-window-boston-ma-2016-09-26Stained-glass Window at the landing on the main staircase

massachusetts-state-house-doric-hall-boston-ma-2016-09-26Doric Hall




House Chamber


massachusetts-state-house-house-mural-the-sacred-cod-boston-ma-2016-09-26The Sacred Cod was given by John Rowe, a prominent merchant and representative from Boston, and installed in the Old State House "as a memorial of the importance of the cod fishery to the welfare of this Commonwealth, as had been usual formerly."  This is the second carving of a New England codfish to preside over the General Court—its predecessor presumably lost during the Revolution.  By this time, the image was a familiar one, appearing on everything from corporate seals to weathervanes and stairwell decorations.  New claims to fishing rights both coastal and on the high seas, however, strained negotiations with England for years, and undoubtedly fueled Rowe's desire to reinstall the simple yet potent emblem over the heads of his fellow legislators.

massachusetts-state-house-house-mural-1630-governor-winthrop-at-salem-bringing-the-charter-of-the-bay-colony-to-massachusetts-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – 1630 – Governor Winthrop at Salem Bringing the Charter of the Bay Colony to Massachusetts

massachusetts-state-house-house-mural-1689-the-arrest-of-governor-andros-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – 1689 – The Arrest of Governor Andros

massachusetts-state-house-house-mural-1697-the-public-repentance-of-judge-samuel-sewall-for-his-action-in-the-witchcraft-trials-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – 1697 – The Public Repentance of Judge Samuel Sewall for his Action in the Witchcraft Trials

massachusetts-state-house-house-mural-1779-john-adams-samuel-adams-and-james-bowdoin-drafting-the-massachusetts-constitution-of-1780-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – 1779 – John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin Drafting the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

massachusetts-state-house-house-mural-1788-john-hancock-proposing-the-addition-of-the-bill-of-rights-to-the-federal-constitution-boston-ma-2016-09-26  Mural – 1788 – John Hancock Proposing the Addition of the Bill of Rights to the Federal Constitution

Senate Chamber



massachusetts-state-house-senate-chamber-ben-franklin-bust-boston-ma-2016-09-26Ben Franklin

massachusetts-state-house-senate-chamber-marquis-de-lafayette-bust-boston-ma-2016-09-26Marquis de Lafayette

massachusetts-state-house-senate-chamber-the-holy-mackrel-boston-ma-2016-09-26The Holy Mackerel

massachusetts-state-house-senate-chamber-captain-john-parkers-musket-boston-ma-2016-09-26Captain John Parker's Musket – Said to have been used by Captain John Parker at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. Believed to be the only documented firearm to have participated in the battle.

massachusetts-state-house-senate-chamber-kings-arms-musket-boston-ma-2016-09-26British musket belonging to a soldier of the 43rd Regiment of Foot, probably captured at or near Lexington, April 19, 1775.

Old Senate Chamber


massachusetts-state-house-old-senate-chamber-13-seat-table-boston-ma-2016-09-26This table is divided into 13 segments, each representing one of the original 13 colonies with the size of each segment proportional to the population of the states at the time.



massachusetts-state-house-old-senate-chamber-clock-boston-ma-2016-09-26The bird over the clock has the body of an eagle and the head of a bird


Other Artworks Throughout the State House

massachusetts-state-house-george-washington-boston-ma-2016-09-26Statue of George Washington – depicted as a representative of the people, rather than in military dress. Having never met his subject, the sculptor was loaned a full-length portrait of the president by Gilbert Stuart from which to model the face. The scroll and drapery held to the chest, however, are neo-classical references that were still popular in England.

massachusetts-state-house-abraham-lincoln-life-sized-portrait-boston-ma-2016-09-26Abraham Lincoln – life-size (6’4”) portrait – the body was painted after his death and the head added from that portrait from which the image on the penny was taken.  Notice that one arm is hidden behind his back … when painted, the addition of arms and legs added to the cost (a reason the phrase “costing and arm and a leg” came into usage).

massachusetts-state-house-sam-adams-portrait-boston-ma-2016-09-26Sam Adams

massachusetts-state-house-british-cannon-captured-during-the-war-of-1812-boston-ma-2016-09-26British Cannon Captured During the War of 1812

massachusetts-state-house-john-hancock-boston-ma-2016-09-26John Hancock

massachusetts-state-house-john-adams-bust-boston-ma-2016-09-26John Adams

massachusetts-state-house-louis-brandeis-us-supreme-court-associate-justice-bust-boston-ma-2016-09-26Louis Brandeis – US Supreme Court Associate Justice Bust

massachusetts-state-house-angels-of-mercy-army-nurses-boston-ma-2016-09-26Angels of Mercy Monument to Army Nurses

massachusetts-state-house-charles-bullfinch-state-house-architect-boston-ma-2016-09-26Charles Bulfinch – State House Architect

massachusetts-state-house-calvin-coolidge-portrait-boston-ma-2016-09-26President Calvin Coolidge

massachusetts-state-house-rotunda-mural-1620-the-pilgrims-on-the-mayflower-boston-ma-2016-09-26Rotunda Mural – 1620 – The Pilgrims on the Mayflower

massachusetts-state-house-rotunda-mural-1775-the-battle-at-concord-bridge-boston-ma-2016-09-26Rotunda Mural – 1775 – The Battle at Concord Bridge

massachusetts-state-house-rotunda-mural-1865-return-of-the-civil-war-colors-boston-ma-2016-09-26Rotunda Mural – 1865 – Return of the Civil War Color

massachusetts-state-house-rotunda-mural-circa-1650-john-eliot-preaching-to-the-indians-boston-ma-2016-09-26Rotunda Mural – circa 1650 – John Eliot Preaching to the Indians

massachusetts-state-house-mural-104th-aef-regiment-receiving-french-decoration-in-1918-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – 104th AEF Regiment Receiving French Decoration in 1918

massachusetts-state-house-mural-james-otis-arguing-against-the-writs-of-assistance-in-the-old-towne-house-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – James Otis Arguing Against the Writs of Assistance in the Old Towne House

massachusetts-state-house-mural-paul-reveres-ride-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – Paul Revere's Ride – And, "No", he didn't yell, "The British are Coming!" becasue, at th time everyone in American werer British citizens and many of them were "Loyalists".  Rather, it is beleived he knocked on teh doors of partiots and told them "The Regulars are Coming!"

massachusetts-state-house-mural-the-boston-tea-party-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mural – The Boston Tea Party

massachusetts-state-house-governor-mitt-romney-portrait-boston-ma-2016-09-26Former Governor Mitt Romney


While the State House Grounds are limited, several statues of notable and unknown Massachusetts residents sit in prominent locations.

massachusetts-state-house-grounds-daniel-webster-boston-ma-2016-09-26Daniel Webster – an American statesman who twice served in the United States House of Representatives representing both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, served as a US Senator from Massachusetts, and served as Secretary of State under three presidents. 

massachusetts-state-house-grounds-horace-mann-boston-ma-2016-09-26Horace Mann – an American politician and foremost educational reformer

massachusetts-state-house-grounds-general-fighting-joe-hooker-boston-ma-2016-09-26“Fighting” Joe Hooker – a Union General who is best remembered for his stunning defeat by in 1863. Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

massachusetts-state-house-grounds-anne-marbury-hutchinson-boston-ma-2016-09-26Ann Marbury Hutchinson, a Puritan spiritual adviser, mother of 15, and an important participant in the Antinomian Controversy that shook the infant Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area, and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological Schism that threatened to destroy the Puritans' religious community in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

massachusetts-state-house-grounds-quaker-mary-dyer-boston-ma-2016-09-26Mary Dyer (c. 1611 – 1 June 1660), was an English and colonial American Puritan turned Quaker who was hanged on the Boston Common in 1660, for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony.  She is one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston Martyrs.


We also had an opportunity to visit the Massachusetts Old State House;

old-massachusetts-state-house-a-boston-ma-2016-09-26built in 1712–13.  The previous building, the wooden Town House of 1657, had burned in the fire of 1711.  A notable feature was the pair of seven-foot tall wooden figures depicting a lion and unicorn, symbols of the British monarchy.





On March 5, 1770, the Boston Massacre occurred in front of the building.


The King's Chapel congregation was founded in 1686 as the first Anglican Church in colonial New England during the reign of King James II.  The original King's Chapel was a wooden church built in 1688

kings-chapel-original-1688-boston-maat the corner of Tremont and School Streets, where the church stands today.  It was situated on the public burying ground, now King’s Chapel Burying Ground,


kings-chapel-burying-ground-tombstones-boston-ma-2016-09-26where the state’s first Governor and his family are interred,


Because no resident would sell land for a non-Calvinist church.





the church is characterized by wooden columns with Corinthian capitals that were hand-carved in 1758.


Seating is accommodated by box pews,


most of which were originally owned by the member families who paid pew rent and decorated the pews to their personal tastes.  The current uniform appearance of the pews dates from the 1920s.

The pulpit was built in 1717 by a local Huguenot carver for the first King’s Chapel building.

kings-chapel-pulpit-boston-ma-0216-09-26It is the oldest pulpit in the United States still in use on its original site.  More than 30,000 sermons have been preached from it.  Today, the Minister still reads the service from the Reading Desk and the Ascends to the pulpit to preach the sermon.  Originally, a Clerk stood in the lowest level of the desk, from where he led the singing and reading of the psalms and chants.  The Sounding Board above the pulpit was installed in 1836 and helps project the minister’s voice out over the congregation.  The hand-carved rails leading up to it were made by apprentices.  Following Puritan tradition, one of them rotates the wrong way, symbolizing human imperfection.

The King's Chapel bell, cast in England, was hung in 1772. In 1814 it cracked, was recast by Paul Revere, and was rehung. It is the largest bell cast by the Revere foundry, and the last one cast by Paul Revere himself. It has been rung at services ever since.

The Park Street Church (built in 1809)


park-street-chruchis predated to 1804 when the "Religious Improvement Society" began weekly meetings with lectures and prayer.  The society organized the charter of the church on February 27, 1809 by twenty-six local people, mostly former members of the Old South Meeting House, who wanted to plant a church with orthodox Trinitarian theology.

The church is located adjacent to the historic Old Granary Burying Ground.


granary-burial-ground-tombstones-boston-ma-2016-09-26founded in 1660, is the city of Boston’s third-oldest cemetery.  It is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere

granary-burial-ground-paul-reveres-tomb-boston-ma-2016-09-26and the five victims of the Boston Massacre.  The cemetery has 2,345 grave-markers, but historians estimate as many as 5,000 people are buried in it.

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One Response to September 26, 2016 – Massachusetts State House– Massachusetts State House (Non-RV Post)

  1. Barry S. says:

    Sir, I hope this comment finds you, and finds you well!  Would you be so kind as to email me at the address contained in this message?  I wish to speak with you regarding permission to use your photo of John Parker's fowler in a magazine article.

    Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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