5 posts tagged churches
IWALKED BOSTON’S OLD WEST CHURCH
On Cambridge Street in Boston’s West End you will find one of the few surviving buildings from the 1950s redevelopment which wiped out a majority of the existing structures – The Old West Church. This red brick Federal style building was built by Asher Benjamin in 1806. Further (and very similar) works by Mr. Benjamin may be visited in Beacon Hill via the Charles Street Meeting House (http://iwalkedaudiotours.com/iwalked-boston%e2%80%99s-charles-st-meeting-house/) and African Meeting House (http://iwalkedaudiotours.com/iwalked-boston%e2%80%99s-smith-court-african-meeting-house/).
The Old West is constructed of red brick with white wood trim, and has pilasters separating each of the three sets of doors and windows. Just beneath the cupola is a black-faced clock with swag ornamentation atop it.
Prior to this current Methodist church, a wooden edifice had been built in 1736-1737. This wooden structure, however, was effectively torn down by the British in 1775 during the Revolutionary War. The British believed the church’s steeple was being used by the Colonists to communicate with troops in Cambridge.
Other significant occurrences said to have taken place at the Old West Church include the derivation of the term “no taxation without representation.” This term was actually a phrase coined by the church’s second pastor, Jonathan Mayhew during one of his sermons. The Old West is also the site whereby John F Kennedy came to place his vote during his historic 1960 Presidential campaign.
If you are able to catch the church when it is open I recommend that you take time to admire the church’s Fisk organ. Fisk organs, for those who are not familiar, are considered to be the equivalent of a Stradivarius violin in prestige. The designer of the Fisk organ was a man named Charles Fisk who was an extremely intelligent scientist and an electronic technician in the Bombs Physics Division during World War II. He actually assisted in the early stages of development of the Manhatten Project. His participation in this effort was a haunting achievement which scarred him in later years before he found new ways to focus his talents.
Address: 131 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Boston’s West End
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
IWALKED BOSTON’S ST. LEONARD’S CHURCH
St. Leonard’s Church is the oldest Italian church in all of New England having been built in 1873. It is also the second oldest Italian church in all of America. The title of “oldest” formally belongs to St. Mary Magdalen in Philadelphia which was formed in 1852.
The church located here at the northwest corner of Hanover Street and Prince Street in Boston’s North End is actually the second building on the site. It was completed in 1899 and restored in 1988. The first church built here was actually referred to as Port Maurizio (Port Morris).
The current structure was built in a Romanesque style and is well known for its serene Peace Garden in front. The Peace Garden contains a number of statues that are worthy of inspection. Even more worthy of your attention is a visit to the interior of the church. Here you may enjoy a glimpse of a fantastic mural located directly above the alter.
After enjoying the church and its yard, take a brief walk to the side of the church along Prince Street. Here you may view a life-size bronze relief of St. Leonard himself. Surrounding the saint, beginning in the lower left corner and continuing in a clockwise direction, are pictures depicting the fourteen stages of the cross. This relief was commissioned by a former member of the church band, Albert A. Natale, who became a professional trumpet player that played in a number of big bands.
Address: Intersection of Hanover Street and Prince Street (NW Corner), Boston, MA
IWalked Boston’s Church of the Holy Beanblowers
The First Baptist Church, located at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Clarendon Street, is often overlooked by many people since it is mere blocks from the popular Trinity Church (http://iwalkedaudiotours.com/iwalked-bostons-trinity-church-tour/). This church, however, was also designed by H.H. Richardson and was actually a predecessor to Trinity having been constructed in 1872. First Baptist Church was Richardson’s second church which he designed (the first being the Grace Episcopal Church in nearby Medford, MA).
To describe the church, it is a Romanesque style church with colorful alternating colors of Roxbury puddingstone (which is actually the official rock of Massachusetts). Richardson’s French influence is well demonstrated in this building through his usages of ratios. To explain that statement, glance at the smallest portion of the church. Now take one-half of its height and imagine piling it on top of that section and you have the equal height of the next section. Continue this equation to each element and you should find the rule to remain intact. The most intriguing aspect of this church, however, is its 176’ tower with an 1870 frieze atop it which was sculpted by the same man who created the Statue of Liberty, Auguste Bartholdi.
The work contains the likenesses of famous Bostonians such as Longfellow and Emerson. It was actually sculpted by Italian workers in Paris before being shipped to the United States. If you glance at the corners of frieze you will also notice 2 angels with trumpets which blend nicely. These angels with their horns have been known to give the church one of its nicknames, “The Church of the Holy Beanblowers.”
Address: 110 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Boston Top 10 Attractions
Trinity Church in Copley Square.
Boston, MA 1900