Marvels of Modernism: Boston City Hall Plaza


Marvels of Modernism: Boston City Hall Plaza

Marvels of Modernism: Boston City Hall Plaza
Oct 15, 2008
City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA - Photo copyright Sam Sweezy, 2008


Boston City Hall Plaza sits upon ground that has undergone many transformations since our country’s colonial era.

A wealthy enclave of Boston merchants in the 18th century, this part of Boston, which became known as Scollay Square and the West End, slowly deteriorated as it lost investors and, by the late 19th century, it became the hub of cabarets and burlesque shows. In 1961, the City of Boston acquired the derelict area and hired I.M. Pei and Partners to execute a Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. The resulting City Hall Plaza introduced Modernism into the heart of historic Boston and it demonstrated a successful effort to revitalize one of America’s most historic cities. Today, many people fear that without the investment needed to make the building and surrounding plaza sustainable for the future, it will deteriorate from neglect.

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