“The Cradle of Liberty” — Massachusetts State Quarter Coin

Today, the Massachusetts State Quarter Coin remembers the dedication of the second “Cradle of Liberty” on March 14, 1763.

From the Antique Views of Ye Towne of Boston by James Henry Stark, published in 1882:


Faneuil Hall.

Our first engraving shown here of Faneuil Hall was reproduced from the Mass. Magazine for 1789.

The second one is reproduced from Snow’s History of Boston, 1824; on this view a white line exhibits the line of demarcation between the original building and the addition of 1806.

Sacredly is the Old Market House, which Otis dedicated to the cause of Liberty in 1763, preserved and treasured.

Although much too small for popular gatherings at the present day, its long use for that purpose, and the hallowed associations connected with it, still mark it as the center from which the people of Boston send forth their will.

“The Cradle of Liberty” has been the scene of many and stirring events. Its sacred walls though silent, echo in language imperishable, the sentiments of the voiceless departed.

There is not an atom of the plain old structure but what is dear to the hearts of the American people.

In every moment of public exigency, it has held within its walls hearts that were true to the grand old principles which have made its name a household word.

In 1740, the people again took up the Market-house question. Peter Faneuil then proposed to build at his own expense, on the public ground in Dock Square, a market, and present it to the town, on condition that the town should legally authorize, regulate and maintain it.

His munificent proposition was endorsed by a bare majority of seven out of seven hundred and twenty-seven votes cast.

The building was completed in September, 1742, and three days afterward was formerly accepted by the citizens with a vote of thanks to the donor.

Hon. Thomas Cushing, moderator of the meeting was appointed to “wait upon Peter Faneuil, Esq., and in the name of the town to render him their most hearty thanks for so bountiful a gift.”

The town voted to call the hall Faneuil Hall forever.

John Lambert, the painter, was the first architect of Faneuil Hall; Samuel Ruggles was the builder.

Originally the building was only intended to be one story, but with characteristic generosity, Mr. Faneuil added another story for a Town Hall.

It was forty by one hundred feet in size, just half its present dimensions, and would accommodate one thousand persons.

The whole interior was destroyed by fire, January, 13, 1763. The town was aided in re-building by the State, which authorized a lottery with that object.

The first meeting after its rebuilding was held March 14, 1763, James Otis delivering the dedicatory address.

In 1806 it was enlarged to its present size a third story being added.

The first public oration in the hall was a funeral eulogy delivered in honor of its donor, Peter Faneuil, March 14, 1743, by Master Lovell of the Latin School.

On the repeal of the Stamp Act, Faneuil Hall was illuminated, by a vote of the town.

In the winter of 1775-6, the British officers, under General Howe, gave theatrical entertainments there, principally in ridicule of the patriots.

The Sunday following the battle of Lexington, there was a meeting of citizens held in the hall to arrange terms with General Gage, on which they might leave the town.

The oldest military organization in the United States have their armory in Faneuil Hall.

They were formed in 1637, and are now known as the “Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.”

Faneuil Hall has been the scene of many brilliant social as well as other events.

In 1778, Count D’Estaing was given there a magnificent entertainment, at which five hundred guests were present.

When Lafayette was in Boston, in 1784, the merchants gave him a dinner at Faneuil Hall.

At every toast thirteen cannon, typical of the thirteen States probably, were fired in an adjoining square.

In the course of the evening a picture of Washington was unveiled, affecting all present most visably.

President Jackson, on the occasion of the opening of a new dry dock at Charlestown, in 1833, held a public reception at Faneuil Hall.

A grand ball was there given to the Prince de Joinville, in November, 1841. Lord Ashburton, negotiator with Mr. Webster, of the treaty which bears his name, was welcomed to Boston in Faneuil Hall, August 27, 1842, by Mayor Chapman.

Upon the opening of the Grand Trunk Railway, the Earl of Elgin, while Governor general of Canada, visited Boston with his staff and received the honor of a grand ball at Faneuil Hall.

The west end of the hall is covered with paintings of notables of the past. Many have been stolen which would now be highly prized.

A grasshopper, which still decorates the vane, made by that cunning artificer, Deacon Shem Drowne, was long thought to be the crest of the Faneuils, but the family crest, since found, disprove this. It is in imitation of a similar one in use on the Royal Exchange, in London.


The Massachusetts State Quarter Coin shows with the images of Faneuil Hall from 1789 and 1824.

Massachusetts State Quarter Coin