Union Oyster House

Also known as: Atwood & Bacon, Atwood
41-43 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts


Street View 


"The Union Oyster House has been a cathedral, or more properly speaking a chapel, of seafood, its high altar the oyster bar, its acolytes and priests the white-coated experts who render available and edible its Cotuits [type of oyster] and Little Necks, its worshippers [sic] the patrons whose mouths water and whose nostrils quiver at the salt odor of lobster broiling on a coal fire in its kitchens." (New York Tribune, 1931) Union Oyster House is both the oldest continuously operated restaurant and the oldest continuously operated oyster bar in the United States. The establishment has hosted numerous famous patrons and is a monument to the importance of oysters in American culture during the 19th century. Ongoing architectural research is augmenting our appreciation for the architectural significance of the building as a rare survival of early 18th-century Boston. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, May 27, 2003

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 27, 2003
Reference number
Architectural styles
Georgian; Other architectural type; colonial Georgian
Areas of significance
Architecture; Commerce; Maritime History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Specialty store; Restaurant
Current function
Periods of significance
1825-1849; 1850-1874; 1875-1899; 1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant year


19th Century (37,788)
Boston, Massachusetts (243)
Brick (42,462)
Built 1826 (124)
Built during 1820s (1,819)
Georgian (1,435)
Granite (5,090)
Have Street View (46,154)
House (27,641)
Massachusetts (4,420)
National Historic Landmark (2,195)
Private owner (54,398)
Stone (26,160)
Suffolk County, Massachusetts (284)

Update Log 

  • February 2, 2017: New Street View added by Brian Bartlett