View from the Venue: Cyclorama

Today, the Cyclorama is a professionally-managed event space, but its history, dating back to 1865, landed it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The Classical Revival style Victorian building was originally built as a showcase for the Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg, a 400-by-50 foot round painting. The project, commissioned by Charles F. Willoughby’s Boston Cyclorama Company, was ambitious for its time; the dome atop it was the largest one in the country second to the U.S. Capitol Building. The company installed a second painting, Custer’s Last Fight, in 1889, but found a need to reinvent when cycloramas went out of style around 1890.

From there, the Cyclorama’s round space has served as an entertainment and recreation venue (carousel, boxing, roller skating, horseback riding and more), an industrial space (they say the spark plug was invented there) and eventually the Boston Flower Exchange. In 1970, the current owner, the Boston Center for the Arts, redeveloped the space to its current state as a sought-afer Boston venue for a variety of events.

The Cyclorama provides a chic, urban space with unexpected features in one of Boston’s most high-profile locations. The space’s industrial nature lends well to bold uplighting, forward-thinking style and decor decisions and an event with a modern feel that’s well-grounded in history. Centrally situated by some of the best bars and restaurants in Boston, the venue provides the opportunity for pre- and post-event dinners, parties and activities as well.

At The Catered Affair, we work with brides, corporate event planners, trade show organizers and nonprofits to make the blank canvas of the Cyclorama into a personalized event space through food, decor, lighting and more. Contact us to discuss your event today.

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