At the time of completion in 1809, the Park Street Church was the tallest structure in Boston. The steeple itself stood 217 feet tall. Until the year 1867 no matter where you stood in the city, or if you arrived from the water, you would be able to see the steeple of the church. Today, the steeple is a bit smaller but otherwise the church remains in its original condition.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Park Street Church
1 Park St
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 523-3383
Hours: June – August,Tuesday – Saturday 9a – 4p
Currently, this church has a congregation up to 2,000 members for Sunday service. It’s long standing theological history began in 1809 as an attempt to preserve Trinitarian theology during an era of growing Unitarianism. It is said to be the site where social justice began in this country. Just some of the historical markers The Park Street church has been involved in include:
- Prison Reform: America’s first prison ministry, The Prison Discipline Society, began here
- Education: Sunday School was started here in 1816 to assist young children in learning how to read
- Women’s Suffrage
- Anti-slavery: It was from here that William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first public address to oppose slavery and the Boston Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. was started here
- American Temperance Society (opposition of alcoholic drinks)
- Animal Rescue League: America’s first animal humane society started at The Park Street Church
- American Peace Society
- War of 1812: The crypt of the church was used to store gunpowder or brimstone and sulphur, thus nicknaming the corner of the church as Brimstone Corner
- Site where “My Country Tis of Thee” was first sung by The Park Street Church Sunday School children
But before all this happened, this site was originally used to house a granary. Next door was a workhouse, an almshouse, and a prison. After the New Massachusetts State House was built these buildings were cleared out to make way for more suitable neighbors.
► For Kids: Boston epitomizes fighting for what you believe, but there is no better place on the Freedom Trail to teach kids about activism than The Park Street Church. So many wonderful advancements in our modern American society started right here on the steps of and inside this beautiful church.
Because we visited during October, this was another stop we didn’t get the opportunity to tour inside, and there was significant construction being done to the exterior. We didn’t feel as though we got the best view of this site, but we appreciated being here nonetheless. Owing to it’s unique importance throughout history, author Henry James termed the church, “the most interesting mass of bricks and mortar.”
► Nap-Time Version: 3rd stop on the Freedom Trail: The Park Street Church