April 16, 2013 12:29 pm
Updated: April 17, 2013 11:13 am

The story of Copley Square

A family gathers by the fountain in Copley Square

Jeff Gunn/Flickr, Creative Commons

It can be difficult today to envision Boston’s Copley Square as it should be seen: As a tourist destination and bustling hub at the centre of Massachusetts everyday life. It is a place where children cool off in the summer months by running through the fountain, shoppers take a break from the famous boutique stores on Newbury street, and buskers dance and sing for a nickel.

Copley square was named for the painter John Singleton Copley. He was made famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England.

The square that bears his name will now forever be remembered as the site of the Patriots Day bombings, but Bostonians will gather again in the square off of Boylston Street.

The blood-stained sidewalks will be sprayed, the yellow tape will be rolled up, and when life in Boston defiantly returns to normal, these famous landmarks will once again become the story of Copley Square.

1. John Hancock Tower

Trinity Church reflected in the John Hancock Tower.

Mr. Ducke/Flickr, Creative Commons

The construction of a skyscraper at Copley Square caused a furor.  As a result, when the John Hancock Tower was completed in 1976, the I.M. Pei building was clad in reflective glass so that it would not interfere with its historic surroundings including the Trinity Church. It stands at 241 meters and remains the tallest building in Boston. It’s also the home of Bain Capital, the Boston Consulting firm best known for its former head, 2012 Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

2.  Trinity Church

Copley Square view of Trinity Church in 1941.

Boston Public Library/Creative Commons

Recognized as one of the most significant buildings in America, the Episcopal congregation was completed in 1877.  This photo of Trinity Church was taken on the last day cars were allowed to run through Copley Square in 1941.

3.  Old South Church

The Old South Church on Boylston Street in Boston.

antonellamusina/Ficlkr Creative Commons

Across the street just to the north of Copley Square on Boylston Street is the Old South Church. Among its many faithful through the years: Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams. According to the official church website, since the first Boston Marathon in 1897, Old South has been known as the Church of the Finish Line of the the Boston Marathon.

4.  Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library’s reading room.

Yuefeng D/Flickr, Creative Commons

Nestled on the west end of Copley Square, residents can often be seen gathered on the steps of this majestic building. Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library was the first large free municipal library in the United States.

5.  Fairmont Copley Plaza

The Faimont Copley Plaza lit up for the holidays in 2011.

Derek Peplau/Flickr, Creative Commons

This hotel located on the south side of Copley Plaza recently celebrated its centennial anniversary. When it opened in 1912, rooms had been booked as early as 16 months in advance. Every U.S. President since William Howard Taft has visited the hotel. Celebrity guests include: Babe Ruth, Frank Sinatra, and Elizabeth Taylor.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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