About Boston's Financial District

Boston's financial district is one of the oldest areas of the city. It has no defined boundaries but is considered to be the area encompassed by Devonshire Street, Atlantic Avenue and State Street. The area became the hub of Boston's economy shortly after the city was founded in 1630. Boston was the center of politics and finance for all of New England until the Revolutionary War, when the city suffered so much damage that its economy fell into decline for almost a generation.

After 1800, the economy improved and Boston soon became one of the two financial centers of the United States, along with New York City. Like much of the city, the financial district saw a boom in construction and many office building and companies took root there.

Unfortunately, not many of these old buildings still stand today. The Great Boston Fire of 1872 wiped out over 65 acres of the city. Nearly 800 buildings in the financial district were destroyed. The total damages amounted to some $60 million, an insane amount of money at the time. More historic buildings were demolished during the urban renewal projects of the mid-twentieth century. The Custom House Tower is one of the few historic buildings left in the area. Construction started on this skyscraper in the 1840s and the tower was added shortly after the turn of the century. It was once a hotel but is now a private condominium complex.

Despite all the changes time has wrought, the financial district is still the center of Boston's economy and one of the nation's financial hubs as well. Hundreds of highrises dot the area, more so than any other part of the city. The district is home to both the John Hancock Tower and the Prudential Center, which are the two tallest buildings in the city.

A number of big banks are headquartered in the financial district, including Fidelity Investments, Eastern Bank, Putnam Investments and State Street Bank. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Sovereign Bank and The Debt Exchange are all located in the district. Several national accounting firms, such as Price WaterHouse Coopers, and several large law firms also reside in the financial district. In addition, many large corporations like State Street Corporation have headquarters here.

Rounding out the district are several hotels, including a Hilton, Exchange Place, Dewey Square and International Place. Post Office Square is located on Milk Street.

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