December 2014, Downtown

clock tower

custom house tower (kward823)

custom house tower (kward823)

Today's photo comes from Kelly Ward who lives in Mattapan. Kelly has this to say about Boston:

"I love that Boston is a constantly evolving masterpiece of ideas and people and places. The bustling city always has something novel and exciting to show me, and yet its smallness and incredible history make it seem perpetually familiar and accessible. Though that sense of familiarity sometimes renders me oblivious to my surroundings, every time I refocus my senses on the city I find a renewed appreciation and respect for it. There is a good reason that Bostonians are notorious for their fierce hometown pride, and it's hard not to feel Boston Strong as you walk its historic sunlit streets."


The Custom House Tower was constructed in 1915 as a way to expand the Custom House that was built in 1849 on State Street (at the time, the waterfront extended towards the building). The first custom house was built in the 17th century as a way to inspect cargo and collect fees. The tower is 496 feet tall, and until the construction of the Prudential Tower in 1964, was the tallest building in Boston.

The clock is 22 feet in diameter and has a 150-pound pendulum that powers the clock. According to the Boston Globe, "accumulations of New England snow or ice on any of the clock’s 11 ½-foot-long minute hands can bring time screeching to a halt, and prompt a call from hotel management to Hochstrasser, the bespectacled clock technician. Sometimes, especially as the timepiece’s hands near the top of their rotation, a strong gust of wind can bring the mechanism to a stop."  

After custom officials left the Custom House and moved into the Tip O'Neil Building in 1986, the building was abandoned for 14 years. Marriott Vacation Club International eventually bought the building and transformed it into hotel rooms. It is now called the Marriott Custom House.


Take a look at a photo of the Custom House Tower being built.

The Ayer Mill Clock in Lawrence, Ma, is the largest mill clock in the world with a face just a foot smaller than Big Ben’s in London. In 2010  it turned 100 years old.