History of the Boston Fed History of the Boston Fed

On December 23, 1913, the Federal Reserve Act became law, and within a year the 12 Federal Reserve Banks were open for business. The Boston Fed, along with the other 11 Federal Reserve Banks nationwide and the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up our nation's central bank. The Boston Fed serves the First Federal Reserve District that includes the six New England states: Connecticut (excluding Fairfield County), Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston was organized in October 1914. It opened for business on November 16, 1914, in temporary quarters at the corner of Milk and Pearl Streets with a staff of three officers and 14 clerks. Permanent quarters were secured on January 1, 1915, at 53 State Street, formerly occupied by The First National Bank of Boston.

As the Federal Reserve grew, the site soon became too small. The Bank clearly needed a larger site, convenient to its most prominent stockholders and customers, Boston's large banks. Three sites were considered: Dewey Square, the corner of Federal and Franklin Streets, and the New York Life Insurance Building. However, these sites soon proved inadequate. In 1919, C.W. Whittier & Company, real estate brokers, presented a site. The Reserve Bank purchased the premises at 95 Milk Street and the adjacent Pearl Street property for $1,400,000, gaining a frontage on Pearl, Franklin and Oliver Streets.

The Board appointed a building committee, divided into two subcommittees: esthetic features and interior and layout, with E.R. Morss as Chairman. R. Clipston Sturgis was chosen as the architect for the Federal Reserve Bank's new building.

Construction for the Reserve's Renaissance revival bank was begun in 1920 and finished in 1922. The bank featured a masonry exterior of rusticated granite at ground level with limestone above. The interior boasted a painted dome ceiling in the entrance foyer; a gilded coffered ceiling and large N.C. Wyeth murals in the main lobby; marble door frames and mantles; and floor-to-ceiling arched windows on the lower level. Life-size equestrian statues once guarded the small entrance door, and a court with a fountain lighted by daylight also graced the Reserve.

In 1977, the Boston Fed moved once more to its current site at 600 Atlantic Avenue in Dewey Square. The 1922 Reserve Building was declared a Boston Landmark in the 1980's and now serves as a luxury hotel, The Langham.

The 604-foot 33-story office tower linked to a four-story wing was erected between December 1972 and November 1974. The architects, Hugh Stubbins & Associates, designed the tower office floors that rise from a 140-foot bridge "suspended" in the air between two end cores. A 600 ton major steel structure called a "truss" marks the beginning of the tower's "office in the air." The exterior is natural anodized aluminum, which acts as a curtain wall and weatherproof facing. The aluminum spandrels or "eye-brows" shade the building interior from the sun in the summertime and allow more sunlight in the winter months.

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