Sports Temples of Boston: Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas, and Statiums 1872-1972

Cyclorama

The Cyclorama was built in 1884 to house a huge, and life-like panoramic painting of the Battle of the Gettysburg. The circular design of the painting allowed the observer to view the awesome and terrible drama of the great Civil War battle in all its tragedy and glory. Oftentimes real objects, like flags and cannons were placed between the viewing platform and the picture and were meant to blend into the picture, enhancing the realism of the work, and adding a three dimensional quality. The showing of the Battle of the Gettysburg was a huge success and was followed by the showing of The Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1889.

The Cyclorama, built on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End is a steel-framed, iron and brick structure designed by Cummings and Sears, a very successful and important Boston architectural firm. The original façade had the look of a medieval fortress with turrets and battlements that unfortunately have long been removed. The original tin roof was replaced in 1922 by a 127-foot diameter glass dome.

The Cyclorama was early used as a venue for a wide variety of sporting events such as the New England Roller Polo championship games held in 1893 and various exhibitions of military drill bands and rough riding. The building later became used for bicycle riding and racing and as a work-out ring for boxers. The facility is now used for a wide variety of social activities including antique fairs, dances, benefits, book readings, and art exhibits just to mention a few.

Although the original exterior of the Cyclorama is now hidden by structures added on in the 20th century, one can still see the roof structure from Tremont Street.

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The Brave Went Down, Without Disgrace

1. The Brave Went Down, Without Disgrace

Image number: 05_02_010095
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

A Cloud Possessed the Hollow Field

2. A Cloud Possessed the Hollow Field

Image number: 05_02_010096
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

Against the Front of Pettigrew!

3. Against the Front of Pettigrew!

Image number: 05_02_010097
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

Above the Bayonets, Mixed and Crossed

4. Above the Bayonets, Mixed and Crossed

Image number: 05_02_010098
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

Fold Up the Banners! Smelt the Guns!

5. Fold Up the Banners! Smelt the Guns!

Image number: 05_02_010099
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

Then, at the Brief Command of Lee

6. Then, at the Brief Command of Lee

Image number: 05_02_010100
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

Ah, How the Withering Tempest Blew

7. Ah, How the Withering Tempest Blew

Image number: 05_02_010101
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

Abraham Lincoln Viewing Union Troops

8. Abraham Lincoln Viewing Union Troops

Image number: 05_02_010102
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

God Lives.  He Forged the Iron Will

9. God Lives. He Forged the Iron Will

Image number: 05_02_010103
Artist: Philippoteaux, Paul, b. 1846
South End, Massachusetts (ca. 1884)

One of eight scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Philippoteaux, part of a 360 degree mural cycle of the battle at the Cyclorama.

High Oblique showing the Park Square District

10. High Oblique showing the Park Square District

Image number: 05_02_010087
Photographer: Fairchild Aerial Surveys, inc.
South End, Massachusetts (1925)

View from over the South End toward the Park Square District. Cyclorama below center to left. The original structure of the Cyclorama is visible behind the two story commercial fronts built out from the original facade. Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Charle

 
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Sports Temples of Boston: Images of Historic Ballparks, Arenas and Stadiums, 1872-1972
has been made possible through a Library Services and Technology Act grant
administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.