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The Old State House

The Old State House is one of the oldest and most significant public buildings in the United States. Located at the intersection of Washington and State Streets in Boston, it stands as a storied edifice of American colonial and revolutionary history.


Built in 1713, the Old State House served as the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until the new State House was completed in 1798. It was also the site of the colonial government and played a pivotal role in the lead-up to the American Revolution. Notably, the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from the balcony of the Old State House to the citizens of Boston in 1776.

Key Historical Events

  • Boston Massacre: On March 5, 1770, in front of the Old State House, British soldiers fired into a crowd of colonists, killing five men in an event that would be termed the Boston Massacre—a catalyst for the Revolutionary War.
  • Revolutionary Discussions: The building was a central meeting place for leaders and thinkers of the time, where discussions and debates that fueled the revolution took place.


The Old State House is a fine example of Georgian architecture, characterized by its brick construction and a gilded lion and unicorn, symbols of the British monarchy, perched atop its facade. The building underwent several restorations to maintain its original appearance.


Today, the Old State House is a museum operated by the Bostonian Society. Exhibits within the museum focus on the history of the building and its role in the American Revolution. Artifacts and interactive exhibits bring the era to life for visitors.


The Old State House is located at the corner of Washington and State Streets, a site that has been a hub of political and civic life in Boston for centuries. The address is:

Old State House
206 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02109


More information about the Old State House, including visitor information, can be found on the Bostonian Society’s website:

Visiting Hours

The museum’s hours vary by season, so it’s best to check the website or call ahead for the latest information.

Tips for Visiting

  1. Public Transportation: The Old State House is easily accessible by Boston’s MBTA, located near the State Street subway station.
  2. Guided Tours: Consider taking a guided tour to gain deeper insight into the building’s history and the events that took place there.
  3. Combination Tickets: Look for tickets that offer combined admission to other historical sites in the area.
  4. Photography: Don’t forget to take photos of the building’s exterior, including the famous balcony.
  5. Walking Tours: The Old State House is often included in the Freedom Trail, a walking route of historic sites in Boston.


The Old State House is a treasure trove of American history, encapsulating the spirit of the revolution and the foundational stories of the United States. Visitors to this landmark can immerse themselves in the past and gain a greater understanding of the events that shaped the nation. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking to experience the historic heart of Boston, the Old State House is an essential stop.

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