Copley Square, located in Boston's Back Bay, is named after John Singleton Copley, America's first great portriat artist. The square is enclosed by Boylston, Dartmouth, and Clarendon Streets and St James Avenue. This square is best known for Trinity Church, New Old South Church, the John Hancock Tower, and the Boston Public Library. Copley Square has an attractive and vibrant atmosphere. It is a center for events as well as a great place to start or finish a day when shopping or looking for a fine restaurant in the area. The open space, park benches, and green area make it an ideal place to take a break when in the Back Bay area. It is also the official finish line for the Boston Marathon. Copley Square is accessable via the Copley T-stop on the MBTA Green Line (subway).

A brief history of Copley Square:

  • 1863 - MIT is located on Boylston.
  • 1869 - A temporary coliseum is built which houses the National Peace Jubilee that year, which was attended by President Ulysses Grant
  • 1875 - New Old South Church was completed.
  • 1876 - Museum of Fine Arts opened in Copley Square. Later expansions would open in 1879 and 1890 to house the growing collection.
  • 1877 - Trinity Church, designed by H.H. Richardson, is completed.
  • 1880 - The land for the Boston Public Library is purchased.
  • 1883 - The triangular lot bounded by Huntington, Dartmouth, and Boylston was purchased and named Copley Square after Boston's well-known artist.
  • 1895 - The Boston Public Library was opened in the square.
  • 1899 - Plans to move the MFA to Huntington Avenue emerge due to space constraints in Copley Square location.
  • 1909 - MFA closes its doors in Copley Square in May.
  • 1912 - The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel opened.
  • 1916 - MIT moved to Cambridge.
  • 1922 - John Hancock Life Insurance Company Building is completed.
  • 1966 - Huntington, which runs diagonally through the square, is closed off and Copley Square becomes geometrically truer to it's name.
  • 1976 - The John Hancock Tower designed by I. M. Pei, New England's tallest building, is completed. Located away from Boston's other skyscrapers, it's reflecting glass exterior keeps the building from overpowering the square.
  • 2002 - A statue is erected in honor of John Singleton Copley.

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