Banned in Boston?

The General Joseph Hooker Entrance to the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston (LEO Design)


So much for "Banned in Boston."  The "General Hooker Entrance," which most people use to enter the Massachusetts Statehouse, is clearly—and proudly—signposted.  You can't miss it. Which is why a certain (delicate) state representative has demanded the sign by pulled-down.  She's upset by the possible double entendre—and the probable giggles of touring teenaged boys.

Joseph Hooker (1814-1879) was a Union General in the American Civil War.  He was born in Western Massachusetts to an English-American family which arrived in the 1600's.  


The Massachusetts Statehouse Alongside Boston Common, Boston, Massachusetts (LEO Design)


The Massachusetts Statehouse, built 1795-1798, is perched atop Beacon Hill, overlooking Boston Common and the city itself.  It was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch and is considered a masterpiece of Federal architecture.  It is one of the oldest state capitols still in use today.  The land was once owned by John Hancock, the state's first elected governor. The cornerstone was laid by Paul Revere who also improved the leaking wooden dome in 1802 by cladding it in rolled-copper sheeting.  The original dome was painted grey, then light yellow, then it was gilded in 1874.  In 1917, wings were added to the East and West sides to increase its space substantially.  During World War II, the golden dome was painted-over in grey to prevent it from becoming a nighttime bombing target.  In 1969, the dome was re-gilded as you see it today.


General Joseph Hooker Surveys Boston Common Before the Gilded Dome of the Massachusetts Statehouse, Boston (LEO Design)


I'm not quite certain how General Hooker was elevated to such prominence at the Massachusetts Statehouse.  The East Wing entrance to the capitol bears his name.  And his sculpture (astride his horse) stands before the statehouse (shown above).  Yet General Hooker is best known for his decisive loss to Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.  He is also reputed to have been a hard-drinking ladies' man and gambler—which may (or may not) have accounted for his poor decision-making in battle.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248