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This blog is a place for dialogue on issues and actions relating to Boston's unique built environment and the preservation and continuing evolution of historic resources within it. My goal, as the Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, is to post timely, relevant and thought-provoking intelligence, ideas, and insights that will engage conversations, inform our actions, and broaden perspectives on preservation.

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Greg Galer, Executive Director, Boston Preservation Alliance

Executive Director

AllianceViews Blog

Ever wonder about…the Transcript Building?

April 8th, 2016  |  Posted by: Boston Preservation Alliance

The Transcript Building in

The Transcript Building in 2014. The Claire’s on the ground floor is no longer there.

If you work in or commute through Downtown Crossing, there’s a good chance you’ve passed by the Transcript Building. Currently vacant on the corner of Milk and Washington Streets, this French Second Empire DTX staple is one of the last remaining buildings of what was once known as Boston’s “Newspaper Row.” In its heyday, the area was home to the Boston Globe, the Boston Journal, the Boston Post and the Associated Press, among others. It was also home to the Boston Evening Transcript, for whom the Transcript Building was built in 1873.

Transcript Bldg_KimballsThe Boston Evening Transcript first ran in July 1830 – by 1873 it was the largest circulating daily in New England and hailed as having “for years sustained the reputation of being the favorite afternoon paper of cultivated Boston” by the King’s Dictionary of Boston in 1883. The paper also claims the distinction of being the first major American daily to hire a female editor, Cornelia Wells Walter.

The Transcript Building is the work of one of Boston’s most noted 19th century architects, Gridley J. Fox Bryant, one of Boston’s most celebrated nineteenth-century architects who was known for designing large-scale granite Italian and French Second Empire buildings throughout New England, including Old City Hall on School Street.


The “D” that tops the “Transcript Building” engraving on the building’s Washington Street façade stands for James Dutton, one of the paper’s two original publishers. The granite in the façade includes reused stone from a previous site of the paper’s offices that were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1872, with a mansard roof and walls of cut stone that features granite and cast iron pilasters – though the storefront has modernized and the original cresting removed.

The building has outlived its namesake; publication of the paper stopped in 1941 after 111 years. Since the paper moved out of the building, it’s been home to a jewelry store, a staffing agency, a dental clinic, a restaurant and a bank.

Downtown Crossing has undergone increased commercial revitalization in recent years – the most highly publicized project is certainly the construction of the Millennium Tower, executed in tandem with the rehabilitation of the Burnham Building. We’re eager to see what’s next for the Transcript Building!

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One Response

  1. […] Milk St.: a complete renovation of the historic 6-story, 42,000-sq.-ft. Transcript building, which was built in 1873. The renovation will include a new lobby, curtainwall, elevator system, […]

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