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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Faneuil Hall: 1903

Faneuil Hall: 1903

"Faneuil Hall, Boston, c. 1903." Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

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Love the grasshopper on the flagpole. Too cool.

[It's atop the weathervane, however, not the flagpole. - tterrace]


My comment about the weathervane is much more personal than most. My father was the steeplejack who stole the weathervane in 1974. He was hired to gold leaf it in 1967 and did so at our house. Therefore, he had firsthand knowledge about removing it. I am writing this in hopes of getting more information about the event. I lived in Maine at the time as a teen so thankfully was not exposed to the embarrassment, directly. I am trying to piece things together so any real help would be appreciated.

More on Gresham, his Grasshopper and his Law

Sir Thomas Gresham, who established the Royal Exchange which bore the grasshopper symbol of his family as its weathervane and on which the Faneuil Hall grasshopper weathervane was based, is most famous for his association with Gresham's Law, one of the most famous laws in economics. The law is easy to state as "Bad money drives out good." Next time you see the grasshopper, you can think of this maxim, which means that if there are two currencies -- one of whose exchange value is less than its face value -- people will hold onto the fairly valued currency and only circulate the inflated currency.

Economist killjoys (redundant, really) say that Gresham never actually formulated the law attributed to him.

The Gresham family motto is Fiat voluntas tua ('Thy will be done').

Grasshoppers & Crickets

The story behind the Grasshopper.

On one end of the hall is a restaurant called Crickets, which had the BEST fettuccine I have ever tasted.


I attended a little art school in the 90's in Boston and went to Faneuil Hall pretty frequently. The city is perhaps one of the most historically interesting in the country. Having come from a small Southern city where "old" buildings tended to go back maybe a hundred years and then to Boston, where many buildings were from the 1600s, it was amazing.

Everything old is new again

Although taken just four years after a reconstruction aimed at fireproofing it, the photo shows a building that had assumed this form 97 years earlier. It is the result of Charles Bullfinch's massive remodeling of the 1762 version. The original Faneuil Hall, built in 1742, burned down in 1761 and was immediately rebuilt. Here is what it looked like:

Boston was already 131 years old at the time of the fire! Here is Faneuil Hall today:

And today . . .

The awning is gone, and the "marketplace" to the east of Faneuil Hall is really just an upscale shopping mall, with Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma, Hard Rock Cafe, etc., etc. Durgin Park is still there -- a 19th-century restaurant that's been there "since before you were born." And in fairness, the Marketplace project did a lot to revitalize downtown Boston 30 years ago. But it's a little less "authentic" than what you see in this wonderful old picture.


Thank you, Dave, you've made my day!

My granddad worked there in the teens & 20s, and I worked there with the Park Service in the 90s. It's great to see the old place again!

And that's not all...

You gotcher chamber sets right there, too. And then your tresses. Like hair extensions, wigs, and toupees.

Where do you see tresses, Yogi?

Right there under the chamber sets.

Oh, Yogi. That building is in your way. That says mattresses.

Right you are, Boo Boo. Sometimes it pays to be shorter than the average bear!!

One Stop Wholesale Shopping

It's sort of interesting to me that back then, you could go down to the market area there, and right in the middle of it, buy a parlor suite at the same time you were buying fruits and vegetables for your store, to be delivered by Gulliver & Allen.

Wagons Wagons Wagons

What a collection! You got your heavy duty deep-bed hauler, a covered wagon, a light spring wagon with a surrey top, several middle-weight spring wagons, one with an amazing cross-load of flat crates, a collection of covered vans, and one lonely fella pulling a handcart. And do we want to know what the soiled-looking fella is carrying in his arms?

The Chicken or the Egg?

It is interesting how the street light goes through a hole in the awning.

The Grasshopper

Just as cool today as it was 106 years ago. I wonder if it has a name?

On the Road

I can't make out what that is on the road just above the "Boston, Mass" in white, at the bottom left. Is it part of the picture? - or something added later and partially erased? Looks like there's writing there.

[It's the Detroit Publishing insignia. - Dave]

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