THIS GREAT HIGH-STEEPLED CHURCH is often confused with the Old North Church. But the Old South Meeting House has plenty of history of its own. Here a group of colonists planned the Boston Tea Party and dressed as Indians before heading down to the wharf. They dressed as Indians not to put the blame on an Indian tribe, but rather to conceal their own individual identities. Any Boston Town Meeting that was too big for Faneuil Hall was adjourned to the Old South Meeting House.
Even years before that, a young lad was baptized here, and would go on to be one of the greatest leaders this nation has ever produced. His name was Benjamin Franklin.
There are many old beautiful churches around the city of Boston and I wish I had had more time to go into them, but I only managed this, OLD SOUTH CHURCH.
The architecture of this current church is named for John Ruskin who was the first professor of Fine Arts at Oxford University, England and was the most influential art and architectue critic of the 19th Century.
Inside the Sanctuary there are 4 large windows to the left depict the Hebrew prophets ISAIAH, JEREMIAH, EZEKIEL and DANIEL. The smaller windows to the right show the Evangelists, MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and JOHN.
Further, there are a series of windows showing five Miracles of Jesus and five others showing Parables. Additionally, there are windows illustrating other Bible stories, such as the birth of Christ.
Old South Church is a Gothic Revival style Church. The church was completed in 1873 by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears. The church is right by Copley Square and is a National Historic Landmark. The church is beautiful with it's tower, campanile, arched windows, Tiffany glass, carved woodwork, stone carving and organ.
My favorite part of the Church is the Tiffany stained glass in the sanctuary.
The Old South Church is, unlikely many of the other historic churches in Boston, an extremely decorative and catchy building. Its architectural style is technically classified as “Gothic revival”, but I can’t really tell the difference between this and neo-Gothic buildings – perhaps they are one and the same. Not surprisingly (given the style), the building was constructed in the 1870s and was based on the Venetian Gothic style, which meant that some inspiration was taken from St. Marks in Venice. This is fairly obvious from the copula, which bears a distinct resemblance to the Venetian cathedral. There are also slight Moorish influences in the alternating colours of brick, although this is not quite as obvious when you look at the building from the street. The plethora of arches and vibrant colours of the sandstone make the church stand out from the usual Puritan drab of the city’s other Congregationalist meeting houses. Just as impressive as the exterior is the interior of the church, which was redone several times and takes from a number of architectural and design styles, including Colonial revival and minimalism. The huge dimensions of the church allow for a cavernous interior reminiscent of European cathedrals, but the atmosphere is much warmer, thanks to the dark wood of the decoration and the pews. The sanctuary of the church is also based on a Venetian landmark, the Doge’s palace, and the reliance on arches is once again evident inside the church. All in all, this is an exquisite architectural piece to admire on your way to Newbury Street and the Copley Square shops, one that should not be missed just because it is in the Back Bay and not along Freedom Trail.
Built in 1729, the old South Meeting Hall was originally a Puritan church, but later became one of the meeting places fro the Sons of Liberty prior to the American Revolution. In fact, this is where the Boston Tea Party began in December 1773, when 5,000 citizens met to debate their options.
Benjamin Franklin was also Baptized here.
Today Old South houses a museum, after local authors Luisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson helped preserve the structure when it was slated for demolition.
Admission costs $3 for adults.
The Old South Meeting House was built in 1729 as a Puritan house of worship. It is best known for the site of where the Boston Tea Party began. Today, the Old South Meeting House is a museum where they recreate the tea party debates. It has informative interactive displays and is packed with history.
The story behind the "Boston Tea Party" can be found here.
Operating continuously as a church community since 1669, Old South Church began when colonists objected to Massachusetts?s requirement that religious dissenters join the First Church of Boston and formed Third Church of Boston (later Old South Church) in protest. The current building?sometimes referred to as New Old South Church?was completed in 1875 in a medieval architectural style that boasts impressive mosaics, stained glass, and cherry woodwork. (Worship held Sun)
Since 1877, Old South has served as a museum and historic site, educational institution, as well as defender of free speech. In the 1920s, Old South enacted a policy to grant the use of the building to groups otherwise denied a a public platform. Old South continues to serve as a catalyst for intellectual thought and energy, by sponsoring public forums, debates, concerts and theatrical presentations year round.
Because of its role in Paul Revere's ride, Boston's Old North Church is much better known than the Old South Church. But the Old South Meeting House, as it is also known, also played a crucial role in the American Revolution. It is here that the angry citizens of Boston met to prepare for the Boston Tea Party, listening to rousing rhetoric before heading down to the harbor to dump the newly-taxed tea into the water (environmental regulations were less strict under British rule). Old South was chosen for the meeting because it was the largest space available to accomodate the expected crowd.
You definitely should visit the inside of these colonial churches. Unless you have grown up in New England, you'll find the interiors fascinating. The pew boxes, with doors, were built to retain heat, but the interiors were otherwise very simple, fitting with the colonial view of religion. While these churches may not be Notre-Dame de Paris, they are architectural wonders in their own right. Don't miss them.
My own forefathers were Congregationalists and some could well have come to Boston before Independence was declared and worshipped here. Now of course, the Meeting House is both a museum and the location of public lectures. The members of church built themselves a replacement church which is New Old South Church at Coley Square. You can see a lecture about the importance of Old South Church Meeting on WGBH Forum Network on the internet.
The Meeting House is not very easy to photograph, but if you stand in School Street you can just make it.
The paradoxical name of this soaring gothic landmark can be attributed to Boston's fickle upper classes, who in the mid-19th century abandoned their old berth at the venerable Old South Meetinghouse as its downtown location was increasingly taking on the trappings of a commercial district. In the shapeless expanse of the early Back Bay, therefore, the city's elite planted their new congregation, close to the new mansions beginning to line increasingly fashionable Commonwealth Avenue. Today, its soaring spires, inspired by the churches of mediaeval Venice, compete naturally with Trinity Church, its portly Richardsonian neighbour, and find it lacking in the guile necessary to pierce the sky with such brilliantly glinting Victorian accents.
Still standing proud and tall although dwarfed by nearby skyscrapers, the Old South Meetinghouse is an important Boston landmark. Used first as a church and then as a sort of oratory-house, the Old South was used by the colonists to rant against the perceived injustices committed upon them by the British government. It was also the site of the planning of the Boston Tea Party. Today, the church is a museum which can be visited for, of course, a fee. The accompanying photo fails to capture it in its entirety although the steeple is viewable in the photo under 'Downtown Crossing'.
Old South Meeting House
Old South has been the site of religious, political and social debate for over 300 years. At the time it was built in 1729 as a Congregational Church, the Old South Meeting House was the largest meeting space in Colonial Boston. This brick meeting house was built to replace the Cedar Meeting House, which its dissident Puritan congregation had outgrown. African-American poet Phillis Wheatley worshipped and Benjamin Franklin was baptized here (in 1706). When attendance at town meetings grew too large for Faneuil Hall, the Old South Meeting House served as a meeting site. In the years prior to the Revolution, town meetings were frequent at Old South as people gathered here to protest British rule. The most famous meeting took place here on December 16, 1773. Five thousand angry colonists came to protest the British tea tax. After the meeting a group of colonists went to the waterfront, boarded three ships, and dumped the tea into the harbor. The Boston Tea Party brought about the beginning of the American Revolution.
In 1876, the venerable structure was nearly demolished, but Bostonians rallied to rescue Old South. It was the first instance of successful historic preservation in New England.
New Old South Church
The first home of this church was the Old South Meeting House. It moved here in 1875, and added *new* to its name.