Taking Photographs From Tall Buildings: Boston, Massachusetts
Many photographers chose to make panoramic photographs from a tall building in the center of a city, to give a bird's-eye view of the area. The Ames Building, built in 1889, was Boston's first skyscraper. In 1894, photographer Nathaniel L. Stebbins, made four exposures from the top of the Ames Building to create a 360-degree panorama of the city. The four photographs can either stand on their own as individual panoramas, or join together to form a full view of the city.
The view taken towards the west shows the seat of government for both the state and the city. The Massachusetts State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch, can be seen in the center of the image, identified by its gilt dome. In the far left corner, the curved roof of Boston City Hall is visible. The large granite building in the right center of the photograph is the Suffolk County Courthouse.
In the view looking south from the Ames Building, plumes of billowing smoke from the business and manufacturing center of the city rise above the shadowed buildings.
Boston harbor is visible in the view looking east. Faneuil Hall, built in 1742, and enlarged by Charles Bulfinch in 1805, is located in the left-center. In this building, citizens of Boston held protest meetings during the American Revolution. Below the meeting rooms, public markets selling produce and meats thrived at the edge of the harbor. Quincy Market, built in 1826, is next to Faneuil Hall. Faneuil Hall can be identified by its bell tower and Quincy Market by its oval dome. Advertisements for businesses are painted on the sides of several buildings.
The view looking north gives a feel for the street life of the time. In the center of the image, trolley cars move down a wide street. To the left is Boston's North End, an ethnic neighborhood populated over the years by Irish, Jews, and Italians. The Bunker Hill Monument, a 220-foot obelisk, rises above the horizon across the Charles River basin in Charlestown.