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Encyclopedia > Old South Church
Old South Church in Boston
(U.S. National Historic Landmark)
Northwest corner of Copley Square, showing the Boston Public Library on the left, and Old South Church to the right.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°21′0.91″N 71°4′43.02″W / 42.3502528, -71.0786167Coordinates: 42°21′0.91″N 71°4′43.02″W / 42.3502528, -71.0786167
Built/Founded: 1874
Architect: Charles Amos Cummings and
Willard T. Sears
Architectural style(s): Gothic Revival
Added to NRHP: December 30, 1970
NRHP Reference#: 70000690 [1]
Governing body: Private
An 1882 engraving of Old South Church showing the first campanile.
The lantern of Old South Church is inspired by the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice, Italy. Moorish influence can be seen in the alternating colors of stone in the lancet arches
Main entrance and portico looking northeast.
The narthex screen is carved of Pierre de Caen limestone
The sanctuary of the Old South Church, the wooden choir screen is based on the second floor of the Doge's Palace in Venice.

Old South Church, also called the New Old South Church was completed in 1873, on newly filled land in the Back Bay section of Boston, Massachusetts. It is located at 645 Boylston Street on Copley Square. For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... This article or section needs additional references or sources to improve its verifiability. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (575 × 766 pixel, file size: 430 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Trinity Church with the Old John Hancock Tower in Copley Square Trinity Church reflected in the windows of the John Hancock Tower Copley Square is an area of the Back Bay district of Boston, Massachusetts. ... The Boston Public Librarys McKim building The Boston Public Library was established in 1848. ... Boston redirects here. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ... Lantern and exterior chancel wall at Old South Church in Boston. ... Willard Thomas Sears (Nov. ... Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster, London: Gothic details provided by A.W.N. Pugin San Sebastian Church in Manila, Philippines made entirely of steel. ... A typical plaque showing entry on the National Register of Historic Places. ... is the 364th day of the year (365th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2112 × 2816 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2112 × 2816 pixel, file size: 2. ... Italian: Basilica di San Marco) is the most famous of the churches of Venice and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. ... Venice (Venetian: Venezsia, Italian: Venezia, Latin: Venetia) is the capital of region Veneto, and has a population of 271,663 (census estimate January 1, 2004). ... For the terrain type see Moor Moors is used in this article to describe the medieval Muslim inhabitants of al-Andalus and the Maghreb, whose culture is often called Moorish. For other meanings look at Moors (Meaning) or Blackamoors. ... ‘Caen stone’ is a light creamy-yellow Jurassic limestone. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2560 × 1920 pixel, file size: 968 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2560 × 1920 pixel, file size: 968 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... The rood screen (also choir screen or chancel screen) is a common feature in late medieval church architecture. ... Doges Palace with Bridge of Sighs to the right Carved marble façade inside courtyard The Doges Palace is a gothic palace in Venice. ... Back Bay is the name of several places and neighborhoods in the world, including: Back Bay, Boston Back Bay, New Brunswick This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Boylston and Hereford Streets, in Boston. ... Trinity Church with the Old John Hancock Tower in Copley Square Trinity Church reflected in the windows of the John Hancock Tower Copley Square is an area of the Back Bay district of Boston, Massachusetts. ...

Contents

History of the congregation

This United Church of Christ (historically related to the Congregationalists) meeting house, or mouth-house, is home to one of the older religious communities in the United States, organized by dissenters from Boston's First Church in 1669, and from that time known as the Third Church in Boston. The Third Church's congregation met first in their Cedar Meeting House (1670), then at the Old South Meeting House at the corner of Washington and Milk Streets in Boston. Members of the congregation have included Samuel Adams, William Dawes, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Sewall, and Phillis Wheatley. In 1773, Samuel Adams gave the signals from the Old South Meeting House for the "war whoops" that started the Boston Tea Party. During the Unitarian Movement of the early nineteenth century, Old South was the sole Congregational Church in Boston to adhere to the doctrine of Trinitarianism. In 1816 Old South Church joined with Park Street Church to form the City Mission Society, a social justice society to serve Boston's urban poor. During the American Civil War, Old South became a recruiting center for the Union Army under minister Jacob Manning. Though the congregation was not entirely abolitionist, it strongly supported the Union cause. The conclusion of the Civil War was followed by an expansive time of increased inclusion for the congregation. Under minister George Angier Gordon the congregation moved from its meeting house at Washington Street to its present Back Bay location in 1875. Old South's commitment to urban ministry and care continued on into the twentieth century becoming a segue for the inclusion of new members increasingly diverse by race, class, and sexual orientation. The congregation supports the God is still speaking initiative of the United Church of Christ, and has formally adopted a platform of equality, social justice, and peace. Disambiguation: This article is about the United States denomination known as United Church of Christ. ... Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs. ... The Religious Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers) is a Christian religious denomination that began in England in the 17th century by people who were dissatisfied with the existing denominations and sects of Christianity. ... The Old South Meeting House with 33 Arch Street in the background The Old South Meeting House, in Boston, Massachusetts, gained fame as the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. ... Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ... For other uses, see Samuel Adams (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see William Dawes (disambiguation). ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Samuel Sewall (December 11, 1757– June 8, 1814) was an American lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts. ... Phillis Wheatley, as illustrated by Scipio Moorhead in the frontispiece to her book Poems on Various Subjects. ... Year 1773 (MDCCLXXIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article is about a 1773 American protest. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Unitarianism is the belief... Trinitarianism is the Christian doctrine that God, although one being, exists in three distinct persons (hypostases) known collectively as the Holy Trinity. ... Park Street Church, Boston The Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts is an active Conservative Congregational Church at the corner of Tremont Street and Park Street. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... Back Bay is the name of several places and neighborhoods in the world, including: Back Bay, Boston Back Bay, New Brunswick This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Example from UCC media branding campaign God is still speaking, also known as The Stillspeaking Initiative, is the name of the identity, branding, and advertising campaign of the United Church of Christ that was launched in 2004. ...


Architecture

The church building was designed between 1870 and 1872 by the Boston architectural firm of Cummings and Sears in the Venetian Gothic style. The style follows the precepts of the British cultural theorist and architectural critic John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) as outlined in his treatise The Stones of Venice. Old South Church in Boston remains one of the most significant examples of Ruskin's influence on American architecture. The architects, Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears, also designed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The exterior of the church is primarily built of Roxbury puddingstone. Many arches, and several walls of stone are striped with alternating courses of Roxbury pudding stone and a deep rose sandstone. Delicate stone tracery decorates the porticos and large open arches in the campanile. Screens of ornate ironwork fill the upper arches of the porticos, and ornamental iron cresting caps the roofline. The roof is covered in alternating bands of red and dark gray slate. Lantern and exterior chancel wall at Old South Church in Boston. ... Willard Thomas Sears (Nov. ... Venetian arches (Doges Palace). ... Upper: Steel-plate engraving of Ruskin as a young man, made circa 1845, scanned from print made circa 1895. ... The Stones of Venice is John Ruskins original three-volume masterpiece on Venetian art and architecture, first published from 1851-53. ... Lantern and exterior chancel wall at Old South Church in Boston. ... Willard Thomas Sears (Nov. ... The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a museum in Boston, Massachusetts with a collection of over 2,500 works of European, Asian and American art, including paintings, sculpture, tapestries, and decorative arts. ... Roxbury is a neighborhood within Boston, Massachusetts USA. It was one of the first towns founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and became a city in 1846 until it was annexed to Boston on January 5, 1868. ... A campanile (pronounced []) is, especially in Italy, a free-standing bell tower (Italian campana, bell), often adjacent to a church or cathedral. ...


The Campanile

A tall tower, or campanile is the trademark feature of Old South and is visible from several Boston neighborhoods. The tower, on the western end of the church, rises to a height of 246' and houses the church's 2020 pound bell. This is the second campanile built on the same site, designed by Allen and Collens it is similar to the 1875 deisgn in its use of Moorish arches. The first tower, completed in 1875 along with the rest of the church, had begun to list by the late 1920s. The cause was determined to be the faulty footings and piles anchored in the soft former swampland. They were insufficient for the load of the tower. The tower was dismantled, and early 1930s technology of steam shovel and steel pilings provided a lasting solution. Today, the pitch and height of the tower are tested annually and records attest to its enduring stability. The bell wheel, which by motion of a heavy rope swings the large bell, had deteriorated by the late twentieth century requiring that the bell be rung by an external hammer. A faithful reconstruction of the original 1931 bell wheel, installed in early fall 2006, returned Old South's bell to "full swing."


The Lantern

Centered above the Sanctuary on the east side of the church is a copper clad cupola surrounded by twelve ornate gothic arched windows. This feature is reminiscent of the cupolas of the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice. While the lantern provides a striking visual presence it was also built with function in mind. In the days before mechanical fans and air conditioning a series of mechanically operated louvers allowed for window panels to be opened to help cool the sanctuary inside. Italian: Basilica di San Marco) is the most famous of the churches of Venice and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. ...


Decorative arts

The interior of Old South is exuberant yet quietly modulates the mix of rich materials: highly carved Italian cherry woodwork, limestone, stenciled plaster, and stained glass. The Sanctuary is entered from the Narthex by passing through a screen carved of French Pierre de Caen limestone. The screen is carved in foliage and animals. Hidden among the foliage can be found a squirrel, lizard, owl, and snail. A similar theme of animals is also found in the exterior carving. The east side of the Chancel, behind the choir, is faced by a running screen of wooden arches with quatrefoil lunettes adapted from the second floor walkway of the Doge's Palace in Venice. The stained glass windows are by the English stained glass manufacturers Clayton and Bell and were produced in the style of fifteenth century English glass. ‘Caen stone’ is a light creamy-yellow Jurassic limestone. ... The word quatrefoil etymologically means four leaves, and applies to general four-lobed shapes in various contexts. ... Doges Palace with Bridge of Sighs to the right Carved marble façade inside courtyard The Doges Palace is a gothic palace in Venice. ... Clayton and Bell commenced business in 1855 and soon became one of Englands most successful producers of stained glass windows. ...


The 1875 Cummings and Sears interior

When Old South's church opened in 1875 it looked very much as it does today, based upon the design of Cummings and Sears. The walls were decorated in polychrome stenciling in shades of complex tertiary colors: a rose madder background with overlays of ochre, bay leaf green, warm gray, and persimmon, and highlights of metallic gold. Most of the interior structure, except for the carved wood frieze along the balconies, was already in place by 1875. High above the crossing of the transepts and nave is the lantern, or cupola. The ceiling of the lantern was painted a deep Prussian blue with a pattern of gilded stars to represent the firmament of God. The limestone tracery of the west wall of the Sanctuary, with its foliage and animals, combined with the highly carved foliated woodwork and the overhead representation of the nighttime sky was intended to echo God's creation. The combined effect was extremely rich; at once a spiritual and sensuous experience, and in great contrast to the chaste interior of Old South Meeting House on Washington Street. Stylistically the 1875 interior was in harmony with the Ruskinian Gothic exterior, and expressed Ruskin's ideal that it is “in art that the heart, the head, and the hand of a man come together.” Polychrome is one of the terms used to describe the use of multiple colors in one entity. ... Rose madder can mean: Rose madder, a pinkish color made from madder pigment or dye. ... A sample of Prussian blue Prussian blue (German: Preußischblau or Berliner Blau, in English Berlin blue) is a dark blue pigment used in paints and formerly in blueprints. ... Firmament is a name for the sky or the heavens, generally used in the context of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. ...


The 1905 Tiffany interior

In 1905 the congregation commissioned Louis Comfort Tiffany to redecorate the Sanctuary. Tiffany headed a group of artisans called the Associated Artists who worked largely in a style now called the Aesthetic Movement. Tiffany was a part of an emerging American view of design in the United States, increasingly taking fewer cues from Europe. Tiffany had decorated Mark Twain's home in Hartford, Connecticut, the state rooms at the White House, and several Back Bay homes. In some ways Tiffany was an expected choice to redecorate Old South. He followed many of the ideas of John Ruskin; he believed in the dignity and importance of the human hand and eye in the decorative arts. Yet Tiffany arrived at Old South at a time when his gilded age style had begun a decline. A new wave of neoclassicism called Beaux-Arts, and the Colonial Revival style were replacing Victorian ornament with a simpler classicism. Theodore Roosevelt's 1902 White House renovation removed all of the Tiffany influence. In Tiffany's redecoration, Old South's stained glass windows were covered by insets of tinted purple glass. The original polychrome stenciled plaster walls were painted purple, then stenciled in a series of geometric patterns with metallic silver paint intended to appear as mother of pearl inlay. Similar to Tiffany's work at Mark Twain's Hartford, Connectricut home, or his project at the White House, the resulting work at Old South was a highly ornamneted visual experience, unified by a limited color palette. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) circa 1908 Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 – January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass and is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau and... The Aesthetic movement is a loosely defined movement in art and literature in later nineteenth century Britain. ... For other uses, see White House (disambiguation). ... Beaux-Arts architecture[1] denotes the academic classical architectural style that was taught at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. ... The Colonial Revival was a nationalistic architectural style. ...


1950s minimalism

In the early 1950s, possibly influenced by the minimalism of the International Style, a second renovation of the Sanctuary took place. The mid-twentieth century renovation largely ignored the architectural history of the church. Louis Comfort Tiffany's paint and stenciling was obscured by a coat of light gray paint, and the purple Tiffany glass installed over the stained glass was removed. In some ways the removal of decoration recalled the congregation's Puritan roots. The Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, Germany (1927) The Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, Germany (1930) The International style was a major architectural style of the 1920s and 1930s. ...


The 1984 restoration

In 1984 a research driven restoration was begun. The period of the building's construction was adopted, using old photographs and engravings as sources, and paint analysis to replicate original colors, the interior spaces were returned closely to their 1875 appearance. Walls were repainted rose madder and the original Cummings and Sears' stencil patterns were recreated. Polychrome stenciling repeated the original palette of ochre, bay leaf green, warm gray, and persimmon with metallic gold.


The organ

The church's present organ, Opus 308, was built in 1921 by E. M. Skinner of Boston for the St. Paul, Minnesota Ordway Civic Theater, and brought to the church in 1985 when that building was demolished. It has 183 ranks and 7,625 pipes ranging from 0.25 inches to 32 feet in length.


The organ Console is located behind the pulpit and is on a hydraulic platform so that it may be raised for concerts and recessed for worship services. The organ’s pipes are located behind and to the right and left of the chancel and also at the back of the rear balcony above the entrance to the Sanctuary (32' and chamade). Ten ornately painted wooden pipes are mounted at the front of each side balcony.


Senior Ministers of Old South Church

Cornerstone of Old South reflects the dates of its three houses of worship: 1670 for the Cedar Meeting House; 1730 for Old South Meeting House; and 1873 for the present Old South Church in Boston's Back Bay.

To date twenty ministers have served Old South's congregation as Senior Minister; they are: Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 690 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2430 × 2112 pixel, file size: 3. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 690 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2430 × 2112 pixel, file size: 3. ...

  • Thomas Thacher 1670-1678
  • Samuel Willard 1678-1707
  • Ebenezer Pemberton 1700-1717
  • Joseph Sewall 1713-1769
  • Thomas Prince 1718-1758
  • Alexander Cumming 1761-1763
  • Samuel Blair 1766-1769
  • John Hunt/John Bacon 1771-1775
  • Joseph Eckley 1779-1811
  • Joshua Huntington 1808-1819
  • Benjamin B. Wisner 1821-1832
  • Samuel H. Stearns 1834-1836
  • George W. Blagden 1836-1872
  • Jacob M. Manning 1857-1872
  • George Angier Gordon 1884-1927
  • Russell Henry Stafford 1927-1945
  • Frederick M. Meek 1946-1973
  • James W. Crawford 1974-2002
  • Carl F. Schultz, Jr. 2002-2005 (Interim)
  • Nancy S. Taylor 2005-

References

  1. ^ National Register Information System. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service (2007-01-23).
  • Aldrich, Megan. Gothic Revival. Phaidon Press Ltd: 1994. ISBN 0-7148-2886-6.
  • Bunting, Bainbridge. Houses of Boston's Back Bay: An Architectural History, 1840-1917. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press: 1967. ISBN 0-674-40901-9.
  • Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Yale University Press, Penguin History of Art, Second edition: 1963. ISBN 0140561153.
  • Hill, George Andrews, and George Frederick Bigelow. History of the Old South Church (Third Church) Boston, 1669–1884. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press: 1890.
  • O'Gorman, James F. On the Boards: Drawings by Nineteenth-Century Boston Architects. University of Pennsylvania Press:1989. ISBN 978-0812212877.
  • Placzek, Adolf K. Macmillan. Encyclopedia of Architects. 4 vols. Free Press: 1982. ISBN 0-02-925000-5.
  • Shand-Tucci, Douglas. Built in Boston: City and Suburb, 1800–2000. The University of Massachusetts Press: 1999. ISBN 1-55849-201-1.
  • Waters, Henry Fritz-Gilbert. "Genealogical gleanings in England." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register." Vols. 37-52, 1883-98.
  • Withey, Henry F. Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased). Hennessey & Ingalls: 1970.
  • History of the Old South Church of Boston. Published for the benefit of the Old South Fund: 1890.

Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Henry-Russell Hitchcock (1903-1987) was an American architectural historian and professor at Smith College. ...

External links

A typical plaque showing entry on the National Register of Historic Places. ... The History of the National Register of Historic Places began in 1966 when the United States government passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which created the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). ... Clockwise from bottom left: a site, a building, a structure and an object. ... Helvenston House, part of the Ocala Historic District, in Ocala, Florida. ... Broadly defined, a contributing property is any property, structure or object which adds to the historical intergrity or architectural qualities that make a historic district, listed locally or federally, significant. ... Image File history File links US-NationalParkService-ShadedLogo. ... This is a list of entries on the National Register of Historic Places. ... The National Park System of the United States is the collection of physical properties owned or administered by the National Park Service. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Old South Meeting House - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (219 words)
The Old South Meeting House, in Boston, Massachusetts, gained fame as the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773.
The church, with its 56 m (183 ft) steeple, was completed in 1729.
It was almost destroyed in the Great Fire of Boston in 1872, and the congregation then built a new church (the "New" Old South Church at Copley Square) which remains its home to this day.
Trail 6 (173 words)
Designed by Asher Benjamin in 1798, the portico was added to the church in 1879, and the interior, which had been remodelled in 1844 and again in 1879, was restored in 1922 to its supposed 1798 condition.
A large, clapboarded, 2-1/2 story, gable-roofed, rectangular structure of post and beam construction set on a rubblestone foundation, the church's front gable elevation is broken by a projecting entrance pavilion with a monumentally scaled, pedimented entrance portico supported by four fluted Ionic Columns.
The interior of the church is illuminated on the first story by 20/20 windows and on the second story by elongated 25/25 windows with individual entablatures.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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