Thursday, August 9, 2012

National Register of Historic Places: Bulfinch Building - Massachusetts General Hospital

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Massachusetts General Hospital (Bulfinch Building)
Boston, MA

GPS: N42° 21.798 W071° 04.076

Quick Description: 

The Bulfinch Building, the original building of the Massachusetts General Hospital, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Long Description:
Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the world's foremost medical institutions. It was founded in 1799 when a $5,000 bequest was made to establish a hospital in Boston. The original building was designed by the noted architect Charles Bulfinch. The building was constructed of Chelmsford granite in the Greek Revival style. It opened in 1821. The building is still used today, and houses specialized offices for the hospital.

The dome in the center of the building contains an operating room and gallery. More than 8,000 operations were performed in this theater from 1821 to 1868. It was here that ether was first successfully used as an anesthetic during surgery. This operating room became known as the Ether Dome. Today the Ether Dome is a medical museum which houses a variety of medical artifacts and curiosities. The Ether Dome has a separately listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The building is symmetrical with the Ether Dome in the center. Below the dome is the original entrance. A series of stair lead up to a portico which is surrounded by eight Ionic columns. To the left and right are the office wings of the building, each having three levels of windows. The building is located at the end of a landscaped courtyard surrounded by the newer towering buildings of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Street address:
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA United States

County: Suffolk
Year listed: 1970
Historic significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering 
Period of significance: 1825-1849, 1800-1824
Historic function: Health Care
Current function: Health Care

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