Wedding Venues

The Tower, Boston’s Newest Wedding Venue, Was Modeled after a Medieval Fortress

The historical space and city landmark was built in the 1890s.


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The Library room at the Tower. / Photo by Caitlin James Photography

If a fairytale wedding is what you’re after, a Bay Village venue inspired by a medieval fortress might be just the place to host your soiree. As the newest addition to Longwood Venues’ host of properties, the Romanesque Revival-style structure that was once part of the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets will start welcoming couples in April 2020. Now called the Tower, the four-story event space offers a taste of historical charm for your big day.

Although it was eventually converted to a venue known as the Castle at Park Plaza, the Armory of the First Corps of Cadets was first built in the 1890s to store arms and house a rifle range, a military gym, and a drill hall. In the early 2000s, Smith & Wollensky steakhouse opened inside the adjacent, four-story head house. When the restaurant closed its doors in 2018, the head house was left unoccupied—that is, until Lisa Saunders, senior vice president of Saunders Properties, which owns it, reached out to Longwood Venues to see if they’d be interested in a partnership. “She woke up one night and said, ‘Oh my gosh, Longwood Venues and Destinations would be the perfect partner in this,” recalls Nichole Wardle, director of sales and marketing for Longwood. “Our executive team looked at the space and [thought], ‘Wow, this would be such an amazing addition to our collection.’ As soon as we walked in, it was like stepping into a history book.”

In its new chapter, the space, which features original wood details and wrought-iron doors, will maintain much of its character. While minor tweaks such as removing banquettes, repositioning bars, and making changes in the kitchen are on the docket, Longwood plans to keep construction to a minimum. Overall, the historical building is a “blank canvas” Wardle explains, and the team would like it to remain that way. “The beauty of it is there’s no carpet or crazy wallpaper,” she adds. “You can really do whatever you want and position it how you’d like, in all different styles.”

The Tower features four distinct areas, each located on its own floor. The Parlor, which can seat up to 100 for dinner and dancing, lies on the lower level, where you’ll be welcomed into the venue with wood beams and decorative fireplaces. One floor up, the Gallery serves the same number of guests as the first level, but features soaring ceilings and vintage chandeliers. At 750-square-feet, the third-floor Reading Room is the venue’s smallest space, perfect for cocktail receptions of up to 35. The Tower’s largest setting, meanwhile, sits on the top floor. Called the Library, the room boasts original bookcases, a catwalk, and large windows that flood the space with sunlight.

While the Tower’s event calendar is wide open, Wardle says the company is encouraging couples to consider full buyouts of the venue and stage each phase of their celebration on a separate floor, all leading up to a grand dance party in the Library. Once the venue begins to book up though, the team expects to see two events running on most Saturdays. Until then, the Tower is holding tours for recently betrothed couples. “Right now, because it’s engagement season, we have so many tours coming through,” Wardle says. “It’s the newest venue in Boston so everyone’s so excited to see it.”

The exterior of the Tower. / Photo by Caitlin James Photography

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A staircase in the Parlor. / Photo by Caitlin James Photography

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The Gallery. /Photo by Caitlin James Photography

The Library. / Photo by Caitlin James Photography

101 Arlington St., Boston, 617-854-5000, longwoodvenues.com.

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