Thursday Doors – Ancient Boston

My European readers will likely snicker at my use of the word ‘ancient’ when talking about something from the early 1700’s. Still, that’s about as old as it gets in this country, unless you’re talking about some Native American artifacts. According to the Bostonian Society:

The Old State House is open during renovations.

The Old State House, the oldest surviving public building in Boston, was built in 1713 to house the government offices of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It stands on the site of Boston’s first Town House of 1657-8, which was destroyed by fire in 1711. As the center of civic, political, and business life, the Old State House was a natural meeting place for the exchange of economic and local news. A merchant’s exchange occupied the first floor, and John Hancock and others rented warehouse space in the basement. The National Historic Sites Commission has called the Old State House one of the most important public buildings in Colonial America.”

I walked past The Old State House on my way to a meeting last September. It was a gray day, but I vowed to walk back, if the rain in the forecast didn’t arrive on time. When I left the meeting, the skies were still gray, but it was dry, and I was off in search of doors.

As they were building The Old State House, there was already a thriving community up north in what later became Montreal, Canada. It’s not widely known, but about this same time, the former fur trader, Jacques Frampton was turning his interest to trading doors. As buildings were beginning to be built, doors were in high demand and Jacques was getting too old to be tromping around the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Today, Jacques great, great, great, etc., etc. grandson Norm operates a virtual door museum in the same area of Canada. You can visit Norm’s museum and you can add your doors. Just check in with the little blue frog – he’ll take care of everything.

So much has been written about the history of The Old State House, that I can’t see myself paraphrasing it here – I think I heard a huge sigh of relief from the Editor – but I urge you to visit the Bostonian Society website, The Freedom Trail website and even Wikipedia to read more of the interesting story of The Old State House. I do want to share my thoughts on one aspect of that history – I think I just heard another sigh.

This building, which served as the seat of Royal Government in the Colony, The Massachusetts Assembly, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (the oldest court in the nation), the first seat of Massachusetts state government and Boston’s first City Hall – was almost destroyed! Not by war, not by fire, not by rot and the ravages of time, but due to its real estate potential. From Wikipedia:

In 1881, in response to plans for the possible demolition of the building due to real estate potential, The Bostonian Society was formed to preserve and steward the Old State House. In 1881–1882, restorations were conducted by George A. Clough.[13] In 1882, replicas of the lion and unicorn statues were placed atop the East side of the building, after the originals that had been burned in 1776.[14] On the West side, the building sports a statue of an eagle, in recognition of the Old State House’s connection to American history.”

As a recent visitor, I am extremely happy that enough people came forward over 130 years ago with the foresight, vision and a plan to save, restore and forever preserve this most valuable American asset. The real estate potential of this location would be monumental, today. With Boston on the short list for Amazon’s second city, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Bezos didn’t make a run for it. Fortunately, the building’s future seems secure.


The gallery includes some photos of The Old State House and Faneuil Hall, also located in this section of Boston. You can click on any image to begin a slide show. Thanks for visiting!

74 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Ancient Boston

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  1. It’s a beauty of a building. I don’t know what those mini towers on top are called, but I really like them on a building … but that spiral staircase steals the show!

    Today was one of those laugh-out-loud intros of Thursday Doors. Glad I wasn’t drinking my coffee when I got to the part about the former fur trader, Jacques Frampton, who became a door trader. You are hilarious!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Joanne. I had to include a photo of that staircase, I just stood there admiring it for a while. I wanted to get some better photos, but there were too many people.

      I have fun with Norm, when I can. I like to call attention to what he does for us – I really do appreciate it. I’m just glad he’s a good sport. So far, he hasn’t complained.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. I’ve been traveling to Boston for over 30 years for business, but I haven’t really ever had time to do much sightseeing. We took our daughter to see the Tall Ships, but that’s about the only relaxed visit I’ve ever made. I think, after I retire, I may have to just go up for a day every now and then. I’m glad you enjoyed the story of Jacques Frampton :-)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It does! And, I think it’s secure at this point. As long as it stays out of deep trouble, then 9-figure renovation kind of trouble, I think it will be OK. Our State House in CT is a different story. They can’t seem to find a way to even keep it open to the public.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooohhhh…I just live staircases the most, especially the spiral ones! Such a rich history in that city. You can feel it even in the photos. I would enjoy visiting but might feel oppressive on an everday basis for me. Beautiful photos Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a beautiful building. doors included. Most of my neighbour was build in the early 1800’s so I guess I’m just used to the age. I tend to think of ancient as many thousands to millions of years ago but then I know some older people who truly are ancient!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The doors, the stairwell–all so pretty. Two fireplaces in that one room, too! Another blogger buddy of mine takes photos of Faneuil Hall Marketplace at Christmas–that might be a great time to try to visit, also. Wow. I didn’t realize Norm had such a celebrated past!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. I don’t think I’ve ever been in Boston around the holidays. I bet it is very pretty. Can you imagine a meeting, with people standing around those fireplaces in the middle of a New England winter. It’s probably what cause the first fire, but…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve photographed both the Statehouse and Faneuil Hall a number of times but never for the doors; both are beautiful buildings. You’ve inspired me to go inside the Statehouse next time. It looks like they’re doing a wonderful job of preserving an important piece of American history.
    Excellent post Dan and I’m sure if he had any idea what social media was, my great, great, great…grand-dad Jacques would have appreciated the shout-out ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny that you mention that, Norm. I have photos of both buildings dating back years, but not really any of doors. Of course, the day that I get there, it’s under construction and the door is surrounded by scaffolding.

      I looked for Jacques on Facebook, but…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the entrance to the Old State House as well as the circular stonework walkway. And I’ve never seen such a classy looking crosswalk!

    Had no idea Norm was so well-connected. Bet he had no idea either!! Lol.

    The spiral staircase is magnificent. The use of differently patterned spindles and the incredible shine on the bannister is awesome.
    🔹Ginger🔹

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So if people have been building beautiful doors for hundreds of years, why did they stop? Okay, maybe a few designers are making incredible doors – but has the plague of aluminum and steel-clad squares really abated?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So true that Boston is almost multiple cities. Last time I was in Boston, I had dinner in the North End (Little Italy.) The meal was FABULOUS. Tried to get a Cannoli at one of the famous bakeries but the line was down the street. It’s hard to find East Coast style Italian food in the SF Bay Area. :)

        Like

  8. Your photos are lovely. I know that the point of them is the doors, but I like that spiral staircase with the alternating unique spindles. It almost looks like something out of Alice In Wonderland. Trippy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m also glad so many “ancient” things have been saved, from ancient Indian to ancient early American. I haven’t been to Boston for many, many years, but Philadelphia of course has lots of “ancient” buildings as well, one of the things I always enjoy seeing when there. As far as Norm’s family goes, how does Peter fit in? :-)

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – I think that story has to wait until I do “music hall of fame doors,” but I have come close to including that branch. I am so happy that this building has been preserved and is being taken care of.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sincerely impressed with that last door. In my imaginary stone cottage, the doors all look like that. And those floors, most of those floors are drool-worthy. Man I love old things.
    I’m sure glad those people saved it, too. Thanks for sharing it with us :)
    How do you pronounce Faneuil?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Fan-Yule”

      I love old things, and I would hate to be looking at old photos of the building that was removed in order to build some steel/glass monotone hunk of…

      I am always amazed at the fact that these things were build without modern tools/techniques.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What I love about some of these “ancient” houses on this side of the ocean are the curved staircase – beautiful design! In Europe the are most often straight. Thank you for all the history involved in Boston. What do you know, Jacgues and you great-great-great- etc. father must have been friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure my great-great-great…probably followed Jacques’ blog.

      I think we have always been aware of the fact that we have more space in this country. Although, the streets in Boston might have been wide for horses but certainly not cars.

      Like

        1. Thanks. Unfortunately, when I was in school, history was a rote collection of dates and facts, with little discussion about the larger story, so I wasn’t much of a fan.

          Like

          1. Same here! Was not interested at all till the history teach got sick and the rector (director) of the school substituted, telling stories about how people lived, and customs and laws of bygone times. That’s when my grade jumped from a C to an A, because he made it so interesting!

            Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve toured Boston a couple of times and have visited the Old Statehouse, but I paid scant attention to the doors. Now you have remedied that oversight and allowed me to revisit that marvelous site. Thank you for both.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A fine Thursday Doors blogger such as yourself knows exactly when to include a lovely staircase or the view of the building from afar. I really enjoy seeing this house in the middle of its tall neighbours. And the doors are lovely as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Horsefeathers! Where has my head been the past few days? I can’t believe I missed Thursday doors.
    Lovely place — that staircase is so beautiful and complex. The Faneuil Hall is interesting with all those windows. I like how the half-moon shape at the top seems to hold everything together.
    Happy weekend hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not to worry, Teagan. I’ve been gone all week and playing catch-up after very long days of nerd-stuff. I’m up in the air now, leaving John Howell territory (San Antonio) for the tundra.

      The staircase is amazing, I just love it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! You’re one dedicated blogger.
        I thought of moving to San Antonio a year or two ago… But I just can’t convince myself to risk quitting my job in hope of getting another once i get wherever… even though this one is destroying me. Anyhow it seemed like a great city. Safe journey!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Teagan. I look dedicated – The posts from last Mon through next Mon were written ahead of time and scheduled. San Antonio seem like s very nice place. Quitting and moving is scary. I was laid off in Seattle in 1981 and moved to CT at that time. It worked out, but it was tense

          Liked by 1 person

  15. One of the reasons Europeans love Boston is because it has a feel of old :)
    But I’m a sucker for anything North American, so I also love anything much less older.
    And doors of all kinds will probably trigger my interest for a very long time.
    And Boston has a LOT of interesting buildings with wonderful doors begging to be pushed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Walking around any of the old cities (Boston, Philadelphia, parts of the south) is such fun. There are all these surprises tucked in between modern buildings. Boston has some of the best of these experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Philadelphia has a different vibe, but I like it. It’s walkable, there are lots of interesting areas to visit. There’s lots to eat, including a lot of stuff that isn’t good for you, but…and there is a ton of history.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kirt. Boston is one of those cities where you can find something new and interesting, every time you visit. I’ve been going there for business since 1981, and there are still so many things I haven’t seen.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I am so thrilled to see your walking tour photos which included two distinguished​ doors and a lovely staircase, Dan. The golden light shining out of the door made it especially appealing to me.
    You’re so right about the history of our country’s oldest cities being in the 1700’s. In Ohio, finding an 1800’s building or home is the oldest possible unless it is a Native American remnant or in High Banks a lookout place for the feuding tribes.

    Liked by 1 person

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