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Exploring New England’s Past: Beautiful Historic Massachusetts & Rhode Island Architecture

Boston skyline views from Bunker Hill - Boston, Massachusetts

New England is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are no exception. Both of these gorgeous states are comprised of historic towns with charming historic buildings. Many of these buildings are over well over 100 years old.

Below I have compiled an assortment of beautiful pictures taken around Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This is just a glimpse of several of the beautiful historic places you will find. Everywhere you turn, especially in Boston, you are surrounded by gorgeous architecture of the past.

Enjoy the pictures and be sure to share some of your favorite historic buildings.

Faneuil Hall
Built in 1742
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: Faneuil has served as a meeting hall since 1742. Many prominent figures have made speeches (regarding America’s independence from Great Britain) here, including Samuel Adams.

Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts

King’s Chapel
Built in 1686
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: King’s Chapel was founded back in 1686 and still uses the same pulpit (speaker’s stand) which is the oldest being used in the US.

King's Chapel - Boston, Massachusetts

Park Street Church
Built in 1809
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: William Lloyd Garrison gave an anti slavery speech at this church on July 4, 1829.

Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusetts State House
Built in 1798
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: Designed by Charles Bulfinch, a prominent architect at the time. The beautiful dome is now covered in 23K gold to prevent leaks. The land was formerly owned by the 1st governor, John Hancock.

Massachusetts State House - Boston, Massachusetts

Old South Meeting House
Built in 1729
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: Originally established as a Puritan meeting house. Many historic figures have passed through including Judge Sewall (he apologized for the Salem Witch Trials at this meeting house) and Benjamin Franklin (he was baptized here).

Old South Meeting House - Boston, Massachusetts

Old State House
Built in 1713
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: This was the site of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence (1776).

Old State House - The Freedom Trail -Boston, Massachusetts

Old North Church
Built in 1723
Boston, Massachusetts
Located on The Freedom Trail

Significance: Old North Church is Boston’s oldest church building. This is also where the phrase “One if by land, and two, if by sea” originated (where Robert Newman signaled the arrival of the British with the lighting of 2 lanterns).

Old North Church - Boston, Massachusetts

First Church
Built in 1629
Salem, Massachusetts
Location: 316 Essex Street

Significance: First Church is one of the oldest operating Protestant churches in the US.

First Church in Salem, Massachusetts

Old Town Hall
Built in 1816
Salem, Massachusetts
Location: 32 Derby Square

Significance: Designed by Charles Bulfinch (also designed the Massachusetts State House), a notable architect of his time. Old Town Hall is the oldest building still standing in the city.

Old Town Hall - Salem, Massachusetts

The Ropes Mansion
Built in 1727
Salem, Massachusetts
Location: 318 Essex Street

Significance: Former home of Nathaniel Ropes, a judge in the Salem Witch trials.

Ropes Mansion (Hocus Pocus movie house) in Salem, Massachusetts

The Witch House
Believed to have been built in the 1660-1670s
Salem, Massachusetts
Location: 310 Essex Street

Significance: The Witch House is the only building connected to the Salem Witch Trials that stills stands today. It was the former home of Judge Corwin.

The Witch House - Salem, Massachusetts

National Monument to our Forefathers
Built between 1859-1889
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Location: Allerton Street

Significance: This grand statue (including the pedestal it reaches a height of 150 feet!) was built to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims in Plymouth.

National Monument to our Forefathers - Plymouth, Massachusetts

1st Parish Street
Built in 1637
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Location: 19 Town Square

Significance: 1st Parish Church is the oldest continuously running church in New England.

First Parish Church - Plymouth, Massachusetts

Widener Library at Harvard University
Built in the early 1900’s
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Location: Harvard Yard (2 Kirkland Street)

Significance: Built as a tribute to Harry Widener, one of the passengers on the Titanic.

Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Built in 1807
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Location: 10 Garden Street

Significance: The institute was formed when Harvard University and Radcliffe college combined. Radcliffe College was an all women’s university which operated from 1879-1999.

Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Lizzie Borden House
Built in 1845
Fall River, Massachusetts
Location: 230 2nd Street

Significance: In 1892, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of murdering her parents with an ax. To this day, no one is sure of the real story and speculation continues today as to who really murdered her parents. The house now operates as a bed and breakfast, in addition to daily tours through each room.

Lizzie Borden house - Fall River, Massachusetts

Pilgrim Monument
Built from 1907-1910
Provincetown, Massachusetts
Location: 1 High Pole Hill Road

Significance: This grand 252 feet tall structure was built to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims in Provincetown.

Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Rhode Island State House
Built from 1895-1904
Providence, Rhode Island
Location: 82 Smith Street

Significance: Rhode Island’s beautiful capitol building is home to the 4th largest self supported marble dome in the world.

Rhode Island State House in Providence, Rhode Island

John Brown House
Built in 1788
Providence, Rhode Island
Location: 52 Power Street

Significance: Former home of John Brown, the famous 18th century slave trader.

John Brown House - Providence, Rhode Island

Nightingale Brown House
Built in 1792
Providence, Rhode Island
Location: 357 Benefit Street

Significance: Located in the College Hill section of Providence, this historic home which once belonged to Nicholas Brown Jr. (the son of Nicholas Brown Sr., the co-founder of Brown University) is now home to the Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University.

Nightingale Brown House in Providence, Rhode Island

Providence Athenaeum Library
Built in 1838
Providence, Rhode Island
Location: 251 Benefit Street

Significance: This historic library, the 4th oldest in the US, is now open to the public.

Providence Athenaeum Library - Benefit St. Providence, Rhode Island

Rufus Waterman House
Built in 1830
Providence, Rhode Island
Location: Benefit Street

Significance: This historic house is located on Providence’s Benefit Street, one of oldest streets in town.

Rufus Waterman house on Benefit St. in Providence, Rhode Island

The Breakers Mansion
Built from 1888-1892
Newport, Rhode Island
Location: 44 Ochre Point Avenue

Significance: The most famous of the historic Newport Mansions, The Breakers was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt. This masterpiece comes in at an over the top 138,000+ square feet.

Breakers Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island

Salve Regina University
Built in 1892
Newport, Rhode Island
Location: 100 Ochre Point Avenue

Significance: This gorgeous university is located on Newport’s beautiful CliffWalk. Ochre Court, the administrative building, is the 2nd largest of the Newport Mansions.

Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island

St. George’s School
Built in 1896
Middletown, Rhode Island
Location: 372 Purgatory Road

Significance: A private boarding school founded in 1896 that has a magnificent location on a hill overlooking the gorgeous Rhode Island coast. Second Beach in Middletown (pictured below) provides great views of this grand building.

A view of St. George's School from Second Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island

For more information on each of the sites listed above, please read the following articles:

Additional information on Boston’s Freedom Trail
Additional information on Salem, Massachusetts
Additional information on Plymouth, Massachusetts
Additional information on Harvard University
Additional information on Fall River, Massachusetts
Additional information on Provincetown, Massachusetts
Additional information on Providence, Rhode Island
Additional information on Newport, Rhode Island

Have you visited any of the sites on this list? What are some of your favorite historical places in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?



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