Boston’s Doors: Four Interesting Doors

I have written a number of posts about Boston’s Doors: interesting doors that you find just by wandering around the city. Usually, they give entry to an building of note that provides plenty of fodder for the post’s content. Sometimes, however, the doors are more interesting than the building and stand on their own merits. They may be just, you know, the doors we pass every day without thinking much about them.

Four Interesting Doors

In today’s post I offer four of these miscellaneous portals and why I like them. They are not far from one another—easy to discover on an afternoon’s walk.

Boston Chops Downtown

Boston Chops, Steakhouse, Restaurant, Temple Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston's DoorsWhile wandering around Boston before Christmas a couple of years ago, I fell into conversation with two men who were staffing an information booth at Downtown Crossing. I told them what I was doing and they said, “Don’t miss the cow on Temple Street.” Well, that piqued my interest. I wandered down  to Temple Street and snapped this picture.

I haven’t eaten at Boston Chops,  although the menu looking more comprehensive than a lot of steakhouses, so I can’t review the food. I really like the shiny steer’s head doorknocker on the very tall red door, though.

The Temple Street T Entrance

Just across the street from the shiny steer, I saw this old gate to the MBTA’s Downtown Crossing Station on the Orange Line. It caught my eye because it reminded me of 1950s Boston compared to the trendy restaurant it faces.

Downtown Crossing, T Station, Temple StreetThe signs say “In” and “Out” but not in and out of what: there’s no sign to indicate what the station is or what subway line it’s on.

That’s so typical of the Old Boston, where signage was either inadequate or missing entirely. The assumption seemed to be that if you didn’t know where you were going, you didn’t need to know. The sign projecting from the center above the gates just says “T.” Not very helpful

Is this the original entrance from 1908? Could be. I love the atmosphere of it but those metal gates could use some spiffing up.

Suffolk County Superior Courthouse

This 1937 structure sits right next to the 1893 John Adams Courthouse at #3 Pemberton Square. Sometimes called “The Tower,” this simple Art Deco building designed by Desmond and Lord is overshadowed by the larger and more elaborate structure beside it.

Suffolk Country Superior Court, George Clough, PWA, Art Deco, Pemberton Square, Boston's DoorsThe building went up between 1937 and 1939, built during the Great Depression partly with federal Public Works Administration (PWA) funds. It currently houses the Suffolk County Superior Court for Criminal Business, which has jurisdiction over Boston, Revere, Chelsea, and Winthrop.

The doors themselves are not distinctive, unlike the arched wooden doors in the  John Adams Courthouse, designed by George Clough. The the large window above them that fills the entry arch is striking, though.

At night, its bright yellow glow brightens up the unadorned gray granite around it. Wonderful ornamental metalwork in a rectangular pattern makes it look like a geometric abstract painting.

The Jewish Advocate Building

The Jewish Advocate, Temple Street, BostonThis building mystifies me because I haven’t been able to find any information on it beyond real estate listings and The Jewish Advocate newspaper’s web site. School Street barely escaped the Great Fire of 1872, so it still has some original structures, particularly at either end.

While this building has no great architectural distinction, it does present us with two doors. Both Number 13 and Number 15, which bracket the façade and are separated by three columns, are marked by white medallions in gilded frames. I think they have interior lights but I was there during the day. Broken pediments cap the simple doors themselves. Fierce lions’ heads decorate pilasters that rise two floors on the sides, framing the entranceway.

More on Boston’s Doors

So, there you have four interesting doors in buildings that may not live up to their eye-catching entrances. For more information on buildings that do, check out the list of posts on Boston’s Doors below.

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