Boston’s oldest public building, erected in 1713 overlooking Long Wharf, replaced an old wooden Town House dating from 1658. After the Great fire of 1711, the town financed a brick building with a room for the Elder’s meeting, a library, an arsenal, and an arcaded farmers’ market “for the country people that come with theire provisions…to sitt dry and warme both in colde raine and durty weather.” It became the hub of the colony’s trade.
On March 5, 1770, troops occupying Boston to enforce the new British taxes fired into a mob of about sixty rowdy Bostonians, wounding eight and killing five. This circle marks the spot of the Boston Massacre, just in front of the Old State House. Crispus Attucks, an African-american, was among the first to die.
In 1635, Boston established the first “public” Latin or Grammar School in America, resolving that Philemon Purmont, a shopkeeper, “be entreated to become a schoolmaster for the teaching and nourtering of the children with us.” The original Latin School was demolished in 1844 to make way for City Hall. This plaque decorates the sidewalk nearby.