Ten people, including Rev. Abiel Holmes, father of author Oliver Wendell Holmes, gathered in the mansion of William Thurston on Beacon Hill in 1809 to discuss the organization of a Congregational church in this area. By mid-March, the committee located a site at the corner of Park and Tremont Streets, atop the site of Boston’s town grain storage building, or granary, and Park Street Church was founded.
Designed by Peter Banner, the 217 ft. steeple of Park Street Church was once the first landmark travelers saw when approaching Boston. Celebrating its Bicentennial in 2009, Park Street Church’s lofty architecture reflects an even loftier mission of human rights and social justice. Prison reform began in this church, women’s suffrage was strongly supported here, and some of the first and most impassioned protests against slavery were delivered inside these hallowed walls. Park Street Church became known for supporting Abolitionist causes, hosting an anti-slavery lecture series as early as 1823. As part of the lecture series, a young William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first major public Abolitionist speech on July 4, 1829. Still active in Boston as a Congregationalist church, Park Street Church continues to hold weekly religious services. Located on the Freedom Trail, the Park Street Church is one of the most historically significant buildings in the story of the Abolition's history of the nation.
A CAPELLA My Country ‘tis of Thee was sung on the steps of Park Street Church for the first time on July 4, 1831.
AN INCENDIARY THEORY The Park Street Church site was formerly called Brimstone Corner. It may have gotten the nickname during the War of 1812 when the Congregationalists stored brimstone or sulfur (a component of gunpowder) in the basement. Or perhaps it’s because old-school Congregationalist ministers preached hell-fire and brimstone for unrepentant sinners.
Park Street Church
1 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108
Open: Late June-August, Tues. - Sat. 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Worship services: Sundays 8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. & 4:00 p.m.