Mercantile Wharf

Mercantile Wharf

Gridley J. Fox Bryant, 1856

Renovation: John Sharatt and Associates, 1976

Architect Gridley Bryant, son of the builder of the Bunker Hill Monument, also designed the State Street Block opposite the Custom House. Mercantile Wharf is an example of the late “Boston granite style” and closely resembles the nearby Commercial Block built one year later. Stringcourses run beneath the windows of each floor, while a substantial bracketed cornice defines the top of the mass. Each three-window bay is expressed by rusticated verticals, similar to pilasters but without capitals. The ground floor with its large arched openings is particularly impressive. The shallow arches with keystones rest on slender granite posts, supporting the façade.

Ships’ chandlers, sail makers, and riggers were the original occupants of the building, but today it has been recycled as a shopping galleria with apartments surrounding a six-story space. The exterior has been well preserved, the major change being the windows, which were originally six-over-six-paned sash. It is admirable that this wharf conversion has maintained the rooflines, whereas most others have added decks and dormers.