House of Representatives

(Third Floor)

On April 26, 1933 the Cod was "codnapped" from the House of Representatives by members of the Harvard Lampoon.

In 1921, Sylvia Donaldson and Susan Walker Fitzgerald became the first women to serve in the Massachusetts House. In 1936 Sybil Holmes became the first female state senator.

In what is now the Senate Chamber the House of Representatives convened for nearly a century. Here in 1858, the dramatic trial of Judge Edward Greeley Loring took place. Judge Loring was found guilty of breaking a state law after he ruled that Anthony Burns, an escaped slave, must be returned to his owner. Loring was removed from office and the brilliant prosecutor John Andrew, an ardent opponent of slavery, was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1859.

Floorplan of the State House
House of Representatives

It is in this room that the larger of the two legislative bodies conducts its business. The Speaker of the House is elected by the representatives and presides from the elevated chair behind the podium. Representatives can vote electronically by pushing a green "yea" or a red "nay" button on their desks. The results of the vote appear next to each representative's name on the boards in the front of the room.

The room is paneled in Honduras mahogany. Behind the Speaker's podium are the Albert Herter murals, "Milestones on the Road to Freedom." The names on the ceiling cornice commemorate men who made important contributions to the commonwealth and the nation prior to 1895.

Above are the galleries for the public, guests of the Speaker, and the press. Hanging over the public gallery is the famous Sacred Cod, symbolizing the importance of the fishing industry in the early Massachusetts economy. It was given to the House in 1784 by a Boston merchant, Jonathan Rowe.