Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline
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Boston Skyline

by Michael O'Brien

The skyline of Boston, Massachusetts is a reflection of the one the most historic cities in America. With architecture dating back to colonial times, the Boston skyline offers an eclectic variety unmatched in the world. From the iconic Old Statehouse Building on Washington Street to the equally historic Old North Church chronicled in Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride, the Boston skyline is unequalled. Hancock Place, the Prudential Tower, the Federal Reserve Bank Building and other historic and notable structures grace pictures and panoramas of the Boston skyline.

Famous Boston Skyline Pictures

Combined with One Boston Place, the First National Bank Building and many other low rise buildings, framed pictures and panoramas of the Boston skyline are typically viewed from three popular vantage points. The north side of the Charles River, the Worlds End point in Hingham, Massachusetts and Boston's Back Bay give professional and amateur photographers alike the chance to capture striking picture views of this historic city.

Several smaller, less ambitious projects remain on the drawing board leaving Boston with a smaller, though no less beautiful skyline. A long list of grand buildings makes up the panorama of the Boston skyline. Framed skyline pictures and panoramas of the Boston skyline reflect the growth and prosperity of one of America's great cities. From the historic Boston Light and Harvard Square to Faneuil Hall and Market, the list of framed Boston skyline pictures is long and celebrated.

The Boston Skyline in Colonial Times

With its high Gregorian architecture and grand exterior adornments, the framed pictures of the Old State House building depict one of the most historic buildings in all of Boston. It was from the balcony of this venerable building that the Declaration of Independence was first read in public. The Old State House building is also the site of tragedy. On March 5, 1770 a small gathering of Boston citizens was attacked by a squad of seven British soldiers.

The attack was the result of opposition of Bostonians to the stationing of British soldiers in the city. What came to be known as the Boston Massacre resulted in the deaths of three citizens and the wounding of seven others. The British soldiers responsible were tried for murder and were defended by none other than John Adams. The soldiers were acquitted and the garrison was removed to Castle Island.

The corner of Washington and Milk Streets is home to the Old South Meeting House. Originally a church, the church was built in the 1730s. During the Revolutionary War the church was the scene of many notable public gatherings. One of the more famous gatherings occurred on December 16, 1773 with a rally of people who participated in the Boston Tea Party, to protest the parliamentary tax that the British placed on tea. When ships were sent by the English East India Company to various ports in the colonies, a group of colonialists took action to prevent collection of the duty. In Boston, a group of citizens disguised as Native Americans, boarded the ships and through over 300 chests of Indian tea into Boston Harbor.

During the siege of Boston, British soldiers used the church as a riding school. The 180 foot tall steeple is one of the most recognizable features of the Old South with a clock that was installed in 1776 and still uses the original mechanism.

The Old North Church is said to be one of the famous buildings from the Revolutionary War period. Standing at the north end of Salem Street, it was from the balcony of the Old North Church that the signal lanterns were hung which notified Paul Revere of the march of the British troops about to lay siege to the city.

Pictures of the Modern Boston Skyline

Of course there is more to the skyline of Boston than famous colonial buildings. Many modern buildings have come along over the years and many more are in the planning stages. One of the most ambitious additions to the Boston skyline is the Trans National Place. Originally planned to stand over 1100 feet, the project has been plagued by several major setbacks. News reports indicate that if the project goes ahead, the overall height may be reduced to something closer to 800 feet.

Like many large cities, Boston has grown significantly over the years, edging ever closer to Logan Airport. The construction of tall buildings in American cities like San Diego encounters similar problems because of their close proximity to major airports. Future construction plans for the Trans National Place remains in limbo though if constructed it would be among the tallest buildings on the American East Coast.

While not known for the tall skyscrapers found in other large East Coast cities like New York, the Boston skyline features several well known buildings. From the north side of the Charles River, the skyline of Boston is as striking and beautiful as any other historic city. The John Hancock Tower also called Hancock Place is the tallest building in the city. With 60 floors and almost 800 feet tall, Hancock Place is the tallest structure in New England.

The glass paneled monolith is a striking features of the Boston skyline buts its beauty hides some of the building's significant structural problems. All skyscrapers are designed to flex and sway in windy conditions. For example, the world famous Sears Tower in Chicago is designed to sway roughly six inches from true center. Occupants at the top floors can feel the motion especially in high wind conditions. In contrast to the Sears Tower, Hancock Place is said to sway so badly that occupants on the upper routinely develop motion sickness.

The tremendous movement of the building would cause the huge glass panels to pop out and coming crashing to street below. As a result of the structural problems, the building had earned several nicknames including the Plywood Tower. This was in reference to the plywood that was used to temporarily replace the damaged windows. The budget for the project more than doubled during construction and millions of dollars have been spent in attempts to correct the design deficiencies.

The Prudential Tower

The Prudential Tower is the second tallest building on the Boston Skyline with 52 floors towering almost 750 feet above Boylston Street. One of the visible features of Boston skyline pictures and panoramas, the Prudential Tower features the tallest observation deck in all of New England. The design of the building, though not as sleek as the Hancock, is far more stable, without the swaying motion found in buildings of similar height. Completed in 1964, the Pru, as the building is sometimes referred to, features over 1 million square feet of office and commercial space.

The Federal Reserve Bank Building of Boston

Gracing the Boston skyline since 1977, the Federal Reserve Bank building contains only 32 floor but rises over 600 feet above Atlantic Avenue. This unique structure is covered in aluminum sheathing which acts to reflect the sunlight. There are exterior panels called spandrels which act as window shades, giving the building the appearance of a giant washboard.