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Occasionally called ?the Cradle of Liberty,? Faneuil Hall is a significant building in Boston?s history and is one of Freedom Trail?s more popular stops. It is located in close proximity to the waterfront and the current Government Center. It played an important role in Boston?s quest for freedom as a venue where many speeches were held calling for the city?s liberty from Great Britain. Faneuil Hall was designed in Georgian style and is currently the heart of the Faneuil Marketplace flanked by numerous retail stores, diners, foodstalls and street entertainment.

The original Faneuil Hall was conceptualized by John Smibert in 1740 and was financed by a rich French businessman Peter Faneuil. He donated it to the city of Boston and construction of the building was finished in 1742. Unfortunately, fire brought down the original building only 19 years after its completion and in 1763, it was re-erected.

The first floor of the Faneuil Hall was a dedicated marketplace while the second floor served as a quiet witness to the courageous speeches of American patriots such as Samuel Adams and his fellow insurgent migrants who rallied against ?taxation without representation.? Another important element in the building which proved to be vital in Boston?s quest for freedom is the grasshopper weather vane which is also a popular Boston icon. Seemingly inanimate, the grasshopper weather that sits on top of Faneuil Hall?s dome was used by Boston forefathers to identify British spies back in the Revolution era. If the suspected spies could recognize the weather vane correctly, then they are set free; however, if they failed to do so, they were condemned as spies.

At the turn of the 19th century, Faneuil Hall became too cramped with the increasing population of the city. The famous architect behind the Massachusetts State House Charles Bulfinch created the blueprint to expand the building and embarked on a one year renovation between 1805 and 1806. Bulfinch augmented the hall?s breadth twofold and put in a third floor. By 1822, when Boston was incorporated as a city, the Faneuil Hall lost its popularity as the setting for town hall meetings, but still remained as an important congregation place among Boston residents for the succeeding decades.

Faneuil Hall, together with the nearby Quincy Market was threatened to be demolished after an expansion program did not go as planned. However, local architects were able to pursue the government to restore the historically significant buildings. In 1976, a massive urban rehabilitation endeavor transformed the area into Faneuil Hall Marketplace and draws in over 12 million visitors and tourists annually and ranks fourth in Forbes Traveler?s 25 most frequented tourist attractions in the United States.
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