Faneuil Hall - History and Facts | History Hit

Faneuil Hall

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Faneuil Hall, known as the Cradle of Liberty, was the scene of protests leading up to the American War of Independence.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Faneuil Hall

Faneuil is a marketplace and meeting hall located near the waterfront and Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts. Officially opened in 1743, Faneuil Hall was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and other Founding Fathers who encouraged independence from Great Britain.

Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace which is now part of Boston National Historical Park and has become a well-known stop on The Freedom Trail.

Faneuil Hall history

Faneuil Hall in Boston was constructed in 1742 by wealthy merchant, Peter Faneuil and although it burnt down in 1761, it was rebuilt the next year. Faneuil intended the brick building to be a centre of commerce, a function which it still fulfils today.

However, it was during the eighteenth century that Faneuil Hall served an important historical role in the build up to the American War of Independence.

As Bostonian discontent grew over British laws, protests took place and, in 1764, Faneuil Hall was the scene of the first of these protests, specifically objecting to the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act followed by further demonstrations against British legislation up to 1774.

Several famous Americans gave rousing speeches at Faneuil Hall, including Samuel Adams, whose statue stands at its entrance. Faneuil Hall’s grasshopper weather vane is also famous in its own right, acting as it did as a test to check whether people were British spies during the American War of Independence.

Only Americans were thought to have known its function and suspected spies were questioned about it. If they didn’t know its purpose, they were considered spies. It remains a symbol of Boston.

Faneuil Hall today

Faneuil Hall is now known as the “Cradle of Liberty”. It underwent extensive renovations in 1806 and 1989 and today, much of Faneuil Hall is made up of shopping and social venues. However, many original features remain, including the meeting hall.

It is now part of the Boston’s Freedom Trail, which takes visitors through Boston’s history as it relates to the American War of Independence as well as forming part of the Boston National Historical Park.

Guided tours are conducted by the Freedom Trail organisation, but you can also visit independently. Historical talks take place every half an hour. The marketplace welcomes visitors Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Getting to Faneuil Hall

To reach Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which sits just south of the North End in downtown Boston, travelers can take the Subway to the Aquarium, Haymarket or Government Center subway stations.

Eight bus routes stop a block away on Congress Street, and a parking garage can be accessed on Broad Street.

Featured In

Revolutionary War Sites

Discover a host of historical sites linked to the American Revolutionary War, from the Freedom Trail to Yorktown Battlefield and more.