Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

Quincy's Market: A Boston Landmark

Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

Quincy's Market: A Boston Landmark

Article excerpt

Quincy's Market: A Boston Landmark. By John Quincy, Jr. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003. 283 pages. $29.95.

Visitors to Faneuil Hall today would be hard pressed to see the history underneath the veneer of the "tourist trap" it has become. It is easy to wander through the stalls and buildings and see only the open-air mall that it appears to be. There are nods to its past aplenty: cobblestones, living history reenactors, cramped stalls. The people standing in line at Pizzeria Regina have no idea that they are standing where pigs were once slaughtered, or the cart vendors set up where rickety stalls stood for decades.

This book is a reminder of Boston's past. It is also a story about how close Boston came to losing yet another of its landmarks. John Qunicy, Jr. weaves a detailed and entertaining narrative, covering the history of Faneuil Hall from its murky origins as an open market in colonial times, through its dramatic expansion in the 1820s under Mayor Josiah Quincy (the author's direct ancestor), to the renovation efforts of the 1960s and 70s that saved it from the wrecking ball.

It would be easy to dismiss Quincy's book based on appearance, just as it would be to dismiss Quincy Market for its cover as well. On the surface, Quincy's Market looks like a coffee table book. It is written by a descendant of the man who gave the market its name. …

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