Boston Art Commission

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Beacon Hill Eagle Monument

Artist:

Charles Bulfinch

Location:

Massachusetts State House, near Bowdoin St. and Ashburton Pl.  

Location

Massachusetts State House, near Bowdoin St. and Ashburton Pl.
United States
42° 21' 18.3024" N, 71° 3' 22.752" W

Neighborhood:

Beacon Hill

Type:

Sculpture

Year:

1898

Medium:

Bronze on granite

Collection:

Massachusetts State House

Funders:

Unknown

Description:

This stately column stands in the place of the city’s earliest alarm system. Shortly after arriving in Boston, the colonists erected a beacon on top of the area’s highest hill—then called Centry, or Sentinel, Hill—in order to announce any impending danger, such as fire or an attack on the settlement. According to historical records, the beacon was never used, but it eventually became a landmark. Heavy winds knocked down the original beacon in 1789, and architect Charles Bulfinch designed a new structure, consisting of a Doric brick column placed on a stone pedestal and topped with a gilded eagle. The monument you see today is a reproduction of Bulfinch’s column, which had to be removed when the top of the hill wasleveled in 1811.

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