Once Boston's tallest building, the Custom House is located in McKinley Square in the heart of the Financial District. When this 16-floor architectural marvel was completed, Boston had a 125-foot limit on city buildings. However, since the government commissioned the Custom House, its height was not limited. Thus, the Custom House towered over all other buildings in the city, allowing it to be the focal point of the Boston skyline for decades.
Construction of the base began in the 1830s on the edge of the Boston Harbor to satisfy a need for a formal cargo inspection and registration facility. For almost 70 years, what we know as the Custom House was only its base: a temple style structure with Doric columns highlighting the Grecian influence of architect Ammi Burnham Young, a New England native. The famous northeastern architectural firm Peabody and Stearns took on the expansion project in 1913 in order to create more offices for the government revenue workers. After the completion of the project, the structure transformed from a simple government building into a striking skyscraper.
Today the Custom House is owned by Marriot Corporation and is used as an extended stay hotel. The beauty of the Custom House is in the way it appears to be two structures combined into one. The difference between the original temple building and the expanded section is clear, conveying a lack of fluidity between the two. However, this lack of harmony makes it even more wondrous, as the eye can marvel at how the two projects act as one building.
- Location: 3 McKinley Square, Boston, MA
- Phone: 617-310-6300
- Website: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bosch-marriotts-custom-house/