June 27, 2014

King Street?

The Old State House sits at the intersection of Washington Street and State Street in downtown Boston, so why is the title of our blog On King Street?  What Bostonians know of today as State Street was called King Street when the Old State House was built in 1713.  During and after the Revolutionary War residents of Boston did not want to have one of their main city streets named after a King that they no longer supported.  In 1784 King Street was changed to State Street, though there are references to Bostonians referring to the street by other names before the official name change. 

Detail of 1775.3 BOS
In the 1700s, King Street was populated with businesses, taverns, and coffee houses.  It is one of the oldest streets in Boston, and the view from the Old State House’s balcony down the street to Long Wharf remains one of the few views in Boston that has not changed drastically in over three hundred years. 

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post with more details about King Street and interesting facts about the Old State House’s 18th century neighbors that Revolutionary Characters Manager, Daud Alzayer, has discovered after extensive research on the history of King Street.

For even more information about the history of Boston streets, check out The Crooked and Narrow Streets of Boston by Annie Thwing.

By Elizabeth Roscio, Library and Archives Manager

June 23, 2014


Welcome to the inaugural post of the Bostonian Society’s blog, On King Street.  Since 1881, the Society has maintained and preserved the Old State House, the oldest public building surviving from British colonial America, one of the two most historically significant sites from our nation’s founding era, and one of the historic sites on Boston’s Freedom Trail.  The Society has used the restored interiors of the building to house a museum dedicated to Boston’s revolutionary history, and has amassed a large museum, library, and archival collection over the years.

Photo by Peter Leavitt
Each year approximately 100,000 visitors enter the Old State House to view exhibits, take tours, learn about the building, and participate in programs and events. This blog will allow us to open our virtual doors and share our news with visitors near and far.  We’ll use this space to highlight items from our museum and archives; provide a behind the scenes look into the continued preservation of the Old State House and our artifacts; and give information about the special events and programs that occur in our building.

Various staff members of the Bostonian Society will post to this blog, but the main contributors will be Tricia Gilrein, Collections Manager and Exhibits Coordinator; Matt Ottinger, Director of Facilities and Historic Preservation; and Elizabeth Roscio, Library and Archives Manager.  Always feel free to comment on our posts, or contact the post author directly with any questions!

To find out more about the history of our building, please visit our website.