Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber

Tour Boston & See Preservation at Work

Part one of three.

During the holidays or any weekend, take in Boston’s beauty with a walking tour — and you’ll see many historic sites restored and preserved by M&A Architectural Preservation. Your first stop is a landmark built in 1798, where M&A has restored historic doors, windows, molding, wood paneling and unique cabinetry.

Tour 1: The Massachusetts State House or The New State House.

Relive local history at the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill, a National Historic Landmark and part of the Boston Landmark Commission’s Historic Beacon Hill District. Renowned architect Charles Bulfinch designed this neoclassical building. Tourists may be drawn to the finery of its marble floors, portraits of Massachusetts’ governors and paintings of historic occasions, but we call your attention also to the chamber’s fine woodwork, unique windows, balconies and, most memorable of all, the remarkable dome.

M&A has undertaken four discrete projects at the State House:

1996, State House Dome: As the subcontractor for carpentry in 1996, master craftsman Rich Muckle supervised his preservation team on the restoration of the State House’s iconic golden dome and lantern exterior, new curved railings, replacement finials, decorative balustrades, and trim. The state awarded M&A the 1998 Commonwealth of Massachusetts Public Construction Award for the Dome Restoration.

1998, House of Representatives (now home to the Senate): The chamber is clad in intricate wood panels and classical Corinthian pilasters, which Muckle had the honor of restoring along with its wood paneling, doors and windows. He replicated what could not be restored: decorative trim work of the intricate egg and dart and spool moldings and custom cabinetry for the roll-call stations. Points of interest include the nearly 5-foot-long, wooden Sacred Cod “painted to life” and hanging from the ceiling in the rear of the room as a “sacred emblem” for its importance to early New England commerce. Note, too, the Grand Staircase with its stained-glass windows at the landing. This staircase was the only way for M&A to hand-carry the huge mahogany benches from the Senate chamber for restoration.

2001, State House: During this 18-month project, M&A restored 925 window openings, 1,600 window sashes and 40 door openings. M&A won multiple awards for this project: the 2002 National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Preservation Honor Award, the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s Massachusetts Preservation Award and the Boston Preservation Alliance’s Preservation Achievement Award.

2019, Senate Chamber: Located directly below the Gold Dome of the State House, the chamber has been the Senate meeting place since 1898. M&A was chosen to repair and restore paneling, balustrades, decorative pilasters and columns in the galleries above the chamber. M&A carefully numbered, labeled and photographed 1,544 wooden rustication panels in order to return them to their rightful place. M&A is proud to be the recipient of the 2019 Boston Preservation Alliance award for our restoration of the State House and the Senate Chamber in particular.

State House tours are offered weekdays year-round from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and are free of charge. Closed weekends and holidays. Enjoy your walking tour of our historic city, filled with architectural interest. Be sure to come back to learn about the next recommended stop.

Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber