Park Street Church // 1809

One of my favorite religious buildings in New England has to be the Park Street Church. The church is the major work of English-born architect Peter Banner, who drew his inspiration from St. Brides Church in London by Christopher Wren. Banner was assisted by Solomon Willard, later the architect of the Bunker Hill monument, who served here as chief carpenter and carved the capitals of the steeple. The congregation of this evangelical Christian church was formed in 1809 in response to the so-called “Unitarian landslide,” a theological upheaval which resulted in 15 of 17 Boston Congregational churches succumbing to Unitarianism, with many members leaving the Old South Church. The church building was erected at a cost of $71,000 on the site of the old granary, which had served as a repository of grain for the poor. When it was completed, people arriving to Boston could see the steeple from anywhere (the Back Bay was not filled in yet), and British author Henry James called the church, “the most impressive mass of brick and mortar in the United States” when he visited Boston.

The steeple was recently restored by the congregation and looks phenomenal! Fun Fact: The church was the tallest building in the United States from 1810 to 1846 when the Trinity Church in New York was built!

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