IWALKED BOSTON’S CHARLES ST MEETING HOUSE
The term meeting house in colonial times often referred to a church. In this case it was the Third Baptist Church which was often the site of fiery abolitionist speakers such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas. Ironically, despite the allowance of such abolitionist speakers, the Third Baptist was an all white church. Thus it was a shock when in the 1830s that a white man named Timothy Gilbert invited some black friends to mass. He was immediately “expelled” for the incident whereby he and a handful of followers went on to create the first integrated church at Tremont Temple near the Boston Common (http://iwalkedaudiotours.com/iwalked-boston%e2%80%99s-tremont-temple/).
In 1920 this church was moved. No, not the congregation, but the whole building itself. The entire structure had to be moved ten feet to the west to allow for the widening of Charles Street.
In 1982 the structure again took on a new life when it was renovated into a series of stores and offices which you see today.
The Charles Street Meeting House was designed by a man named Asher Benjamin who built this site in 1804. If you walk through Beacon Hill or the West End you may notice two very similar structures which Benjamin is also responsible for. These would include the African Meeting House at 8 Smith Court in Beacon Hill (http://iwalkedaudiotours.com/iwalked-boston%e2%80%99s-smith-court-african-meeting-house/) and the Old West Church at 131 Cambridge Street in the West End (http://iwalkedaudiotours.com/iwalked-boston%e2%80%99s-old-west-church/).
Address:70 Charles Street, Boston, MA
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Boston’s Beacon Hill