August 17, 2017

The Ames Building

Between Faneuil Hall and the Old State House is the Ames Boston Hotel. This building is the first skyscraper in the city of Boston.

Things that I learned about the Ames Building.

  • Built in 1891. The first tenant moved in January 5, 1891. (Old Colony Trust Company)
  • The Ames Building is 196 feet high (14 stories) and occupies 93,000+ square foot. For a brief period of time it was the tallest masonry building in the United States. The Monadnock Building in Chicago is the tallest masonry building.
  • Tallest Building in the United States in 1893 was the Milwaukee City Hall at 354 ft.
  • The building was never the tallest structure in Boston, the steeple of the Church of the Covenant has held that honor (236-foot)
  • The Church of the Covenant lost the status in 1915. That's when the Custom House Tower was built in 1915. (The Custom House Tower is a few blocks away from the Ames Building.)
  • In 1889 the Ames Building was estimated to cost $625,000 prior to construction. ( worth $15,376,496.02 in 2015. )
  • Building architect was Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge - who also designed the South Station building and the Trinity Church in Copley Square.
  • Offically listed as a Boston Landmark on November 23, 1993 (Exterior Landmark)
  • Today the Ames Building is called the Ames Boston Hotel. There are 114 luxury rooms available. It's part of the Curio Collection by Hilton Hotels.

Ames Hotel Building 2017
View from the Old State House.

Thanksgiving Day Fire 1889

Four firemen lost their lives in the construction of the Ames Building during a massive "The Thanksgiving Day Fire" on November 28, 1889. The fire was started in the basement of a warehouse about 5 blocks from the Ames Building. The fire destroyed hundreds of buildings and killed fourteen people.

Following firefighters were found dead in the Ames Building:

  • John J. Brooks Jr., Hose Company 7, age 29.
  • Michael Murnan, Hose Company 7, age 34.
  • Daniel J. Buckley, Ladder Company 3, age 31.
  • Frank P. Loker, Ladder Company 3, age 33.
  • Edward E. Whiting

Time Ball

At one time there was a Time Ball on the top of the Ames Building. The ball was used to help mariners entering Boston harbor for the correction of their chronometers. Each day at exactly at noon the ball would be hoisted to the top of the pole on the Ames Building. The ball was put up on December 30, 1902 and taken down on September 7, 1923. It was removed since the invention of radio time signal the service was no longer needed

Sign at the Building

Ames Hotel Sign

The Bostonian Society placed the following marker on the building:

When the thirteen-story Ames Building was completed in 1889, it was the tallest building in Boston. Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the building exhibits both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. The Ames Building was constructed before skyscrapers were built of steel, and instead is supported by nine-foot thick masonry walls. It is considered a great technical achievement of its day, and remains the tallest example of the type of construction in the United States. In 2009, the newly renovated Ames Building reopened as the Ames Hotel.

Location

The Ames Boston Hotel is located at 1 Court Street in Boston's Financial district. It's located directly across the street from the Old State House.

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