and Humanitarian Movements
Nationial Historical Park
early 18th-century Boston a number of merchant families amassed
great wealth through shipping and trade. Codfish, caught off the
coast, were dried, salted, and traded in the West Indies for molasses
and rum. These products were, in turn, exchanged in Europe for manufactured
goods, or, along the west coast of Africa, for slaves. One of the
wealthiest Boston merchants of this era was Peter Faneuil.
proposed to mark his success by building a central food market in
his hometown. The merits of establishing a permanent marketplace
had long been debated in Boston and all previous attempts had failed.
Boston's voters accepted Faneuil's proposal only after much heated
debate and by a slim majority. The building as finally constructed
in 1742 included not only an open market but also a meeting space
suitable for town gatherings. The hall, named for Faneuil, was built
on land gained by the filling of the small cove near the ancient
and dilapidated town dock.
the 20th Century, Faneuil Hall has remained an active and important
place for Bostonians. In the early 19th century the three granite
structures of the Quincy Market were built to the east of the Hall.
These, along with Faneuil Hall's market stalls, continued to be
Boston's wholesale food distribution center until the 1960s. During
the 1970s the entire Faneuil Hall area underwent a major renewal,
and today the stalls purvey food to thousands of visitors each day.