USA Travel Guides: Faneuil Hall Marketplace is also called Quincy Market, now it is one of the most popular Boston shopping destinations. A fun mixture of unique shops, restaurants, traditional food stalls, and national brand stores give shoppers and diners plenty of choices. Outdoor vendors and popular nightspots including a re-creation of Cheers add to the fun. But Faneuil Hall Marketplace is much more than just a trendy shopping complex it's Boston's oldest market area, dating back to 1742 and rooted in a clash between wealthy businessman / developer Peter Faneuil and what he considered to be a regarded as a tight-fisted, repressive, post-Puritan city government regime.
Peter Faneuil amassed a reasonably large fortune as a merchant, ship builder, businessman, slave trader, and occasional smuggler, he inherited an even larger fortune from his wealthy uncle in 1738, making him one of the richest men in America. With all that money under his control, Faneuil naturally started looking for ways to spend it. The building's construction began in 1740, and took 2 years to complete. Smybert's plans included an open ground floor with arcades, perfect for a covered meat and produce market. A large assembly room occupied the second floor.
An 80-pound gold-gilded copper grasshopper weather vane, created by Shem Drowne in 1742 based on a similar grasshopper weather vane on top of the London Royal Exchange, crowns the top of Faneuil Hall's belfry. A steeplejack stole this weather vane in 1974, planning to hold it for ransom, but the police recovered it a few days later. Peter Faneuil died only 6 months after the building was completed, and the marketplace came to be called Faneuil Hall in his honor. After fire destroyed Faneuil Hall Marketplace in 1761, it was rebuilt, and then enlarged by famous Boston architect Charles Bulfinch in 1806. He doubled the width of the building and added a third floor, while managing to retain its Georgian columns.
You may be wondering how a marketplace ended up on Boston's Freedom Trail. Due to Faneuil Hall's second floor assembly room, and the patriotic events that unfolded there. Because of its size, the assembly hall became one of the Colonists' favorite spots, along with the Old State House and the Old South Meeting House, for fiery speeches advocating liberty as conflicts with England heated up. Nearby taverns, some of which you can still visit today, no doubt contributed to the speakers' fervor.
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