Liberty Hotel at Charles Street Jail

Suffolk County Jail

Constructed, 1851

According to Peter Vanderwarker, "the design of the jail became a model for prisons built all over the United States in the last half of the 19th century. The building featured fireproof construction, with a central administration block and four radiating wings that allowed ventilation and light to reach every cell. The prison also included large open communal work spaces and level, well-drained exercise yards. It was used continuously as a jail until its closing in 1990. Although it looks primitive by today’s standards, it was a great step forward for its time. The thick, rusticated granite walls of the Charles Street Jail might remind one of the State Street Block, a sturdy warehouse that sits on State Street right next to the Custom House Tower. Both were designed by Gridley J.F. Bryant, who also designed Boston’s Old City Hall."

Converted, 2007

The national historic landmark, was transformed into a new four-star luxury hotel on its prominent site overlooking the Charles River. Through restoration, reuse and reinvention, Cambridge Seven Associates with Ann Beha Architects designed the obsolete structure to be reborn as a vital commercial development incorporating historically significant portions of the building, and integrated into the urban fabric of its Beacon Hill neighborhood. Developed by Carpenter & Company, The Liberty Hotel is a full service hotel including 298 guest rooms, a conference facility, ballroom, health club, lounge, restaurants and attractive amenities. According to Peter Vanderwarker, "given the old jail’s pioneering of inmate health, there’s some justice in the fact that part of it will become an outpatient care center for women, children, and cancer patients. The remaining three wings of the cross-shaped prison will be restored as the lobby, restaurants, and guest rooms of a $75 million, 300-room hotel and conference center being developed by Carpenter and Co."


Old - Boston Preservation Alliance Award in 2008Old - Bostonian Society Award in 2008Old - Buildings Magazine Award in 2008
Related People
Peter Vanderwarker, featured the Liberty Hotel in his Cityscapes of Boston collection.