“These halls are eloquent with the presence of the great dead” — Massachusetts State Quarter Coin

Today, the Massachusetts State Quarter Coin remembers the centennial of the Bulfinch State House on January 11, 1898.

From the Centennial of the Bulfinch State House, Exercises Before the Massachusetts Legislature, January 11, 1898 by the Massachusetts General Court, published in 1898:


[From the Journal of the Senate.]

January 6, 1898. On motion of Mr. Crane, —

Ordered, That so much of the Governor’s Address as relates to the restoration of the Bulfinch State House and the centennial anniversary of its occupancy be referred to a joint special committee, to consist of three members of the Senate and five members of the House; and that said committee be authorized to make such arrangements, and report such recommendations, as may be necessary to provide for the suitable commemoration of these events.

Messrs. Crane, Holden and Moran were appointed the committee on the part of the Senate.

Sent down for concurrence.

Came up, adopted, in concurrence; and Messrs. Lowell of Boston, Harlow of Whitman, Stone of Springfield, Porter of North Attleborough and Cooke of Milford were joined on the part of the House.

January 10.

A report of the joint special committee who were instructed to make such arrangements and report such recommendations as might be necessary to provide for the suitable commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the occupation of the Bulfinch State House, came up, and was read.

The report stated that the committee had arranged for holding appropriate exercises in commemoration of said event on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1898, at 11 o’clock a.m., in the present Senate Chamber; that on said occasion His Excellency the Governor would preside and an address would be delivered by the Honorable Alfred S. Roe; and that all members of both branches were respectfully invited to be present at said exercises.

Read and accepted, in concurrence, under a suspension of the rule, moved by Mr. Holden.

The exercises were held as recommended, and were as given in the following pages.

Hon. Ellery B. Crane of Worcester, chairman of the special committee having the matter in charge, introduced His Excellency Gov. Roger Wolcott, who presided.


By His Excellency Gov. Roger Wolcott.

We are met in joint assemblage of the two branches of the General Court, and in the presence of the Governor and Council, to rededicate to the public use of the Commonwealth the stately and beautiful edifice which was, one hundred years ago, in the eloquent words of Governor Sumner, dedicated to the honor, freedom, independence and security of our country.

Since then it has been the State House of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its walls have resounded to the tread and have echoed the words of statesmen, soldiers, jurists and men of affairs, who have had their share in the fame of the Commonwealth.

Here have been enacted the laws which have made Massachusetts an example and a leader to the other States of the Union.

Whatsoever pride its people may feel in their citizenship, in large measure finds its source within these halls.

For a century this building has symbolized the dignity and majesty of the Commonwealth.

Its corner-stone was laid by Samuel Adams, the great popular leader of the Revolutionary period, and by Paul Revere, skilful mechanic and immortal patriot.

Its design was the work of Charles Bulfinch, the foremost architect of his time in America, and it stands today his most worthy monument.

Either as owner of the site, or as official occupants of the structure, every one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from the colony of Massachusetts Bay held close relation with this building.

Here Presidents of the United States, from James Monroe to Ulysses S. Grant, have been received and entertained with the honor due their exalted office and the character and achievement which they brought to the performance of its arduous duties.

Here Webster has spoken, and Everett and Choate and Sumner, and many another with lesser fame who yet has deserved well of the Republic.

Here in honored death lay a Vice-President of the United States, and a Senator of the Commonwealth who had dared and suffered in her cause.

Here have acted and labored the long line of my predecessors in office who have made the title of Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts one of the most honored in the nation.

Here John A. Andrew gave his heart’s blood to the cause of union and nationality.

From yonder steps have marched to death or victory the gallant youth of the State, ready to give their lives to a great cause.

Here year by year have successive Legislatures patiently wrought to embody in the statutes of the Commonwealth the fundamental principles laid down in the Constitution.

These halls are eloquent with the presence of the great dead.

They speak to us with the compelling voice of the past, and bid us be not unworthy of the trust it has imposed.

May we meet the problems of the present with the spirit which inspired our fathers, and may we dedicate ourselves anew to the maintenance of a government of the people, by the people and for the people; so may God bless us of this generation as he has hitherto blessed the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


The Massachusetts State Quarter Coin shows with an artist’s image of the Bulfinch State House, circa 1898.

Massachusetts State Quarter Coin