Boston By Foot Tour of the Month: Art Deco

In my spare time, I lead tours as a volunteer guide for the wonderful organization Boston By Foot. Right now I’m in my second year as co-chair for the Tour of the Month committee. I don’t actually lead these tours but coordinate everyone else involved from writing the tour manual, leading the tour to collecting admission fees and making sure the tourees don’t get lost.

Photos from the Art Deco Tour of the Month

I love the Tour of the Month because it gives our talented guides and researchers a chance to learn about the history and architecture off the beaten path in Boston. This season’s first Tour of the Month on Memorial Day weekend was no exception. If you asked me a year ago where to find Art Deco architecture in Boston, I’d tell you to go to New York or Chicago. But plenty of Art Deco structures are hiding in plain sight in Boston’s Financial District.

One of my favorites is the Batterymarch Building, now a Hilton hotel:

One doesn’t usually associate red brick with Art Deco architecture, but there are several brick Art Deco structures on this tour alone! Of course, brick is a standard building material in Boston, so the architects adapted brick to their own purposes.

Another stunning building is the New England Telephone Building on Post Office Square which includes this intricate detail work over the front door:

I never thought to go inside this building before, but it’s worth checking out. There is 360 degree mural over the lobby dedicated to the men and women who worked in the telephone industry. They’ve also reassembled Alexander Graham Bell’s laboratory into a nifty little museum with an audiovisual presentation.

The stepped, trapezoidal shape of the Second National Bank of Boston contains some of the most prominent Art Deco decoration in the city:

Of course I’ve passed the building hundreds of times without even noticing.

Check out more photos from the tour in my online gallery at

The next Tour of the Month is of the Bulfinch Triangle on Sunday June 24 at 2pm, so come on out for a fun, educational experience.