Old South Meeting House (1729)


Built in 1729, Boston’s Old South Meeting House was the largest building in the colonial town. The congregation began in 1669, when it separated from Boston’s First Church (becoming the Third Church of Boston). In the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the American Revolution, citizens would gather in the Old South Meeting House to debate and argue in the aftermath of events like the Boston Massacre. On the night of December 16, 1773, over 5,000 colonists, angered over the tax on tea, met at Old South and after hours of debate, Samuel Adams gave a secret signal which began the famous Boston Tea Party. During the war, occupying British troops took revenge for the Tea Party by ripping out the church‘s pews and using the building as a riding stable. They also set up a bar on the first balcony. The church continued to be used as a house of worship, but after it was nearly destroyed in the Great Boston Fire of 1872, the congregation built the New Old South Church at Copley Square. In danger of being torn down, pioneering preservation efforts led to the restoration of the building, which has been a museum and historic site since 1877. It is also a stop on the Boston Freedom Trail. The steeple has been replaced twice, after storms in 1804 and 1954.

One Response to Old South Meeting House (1729)

  1. Emily Curran says:

    The last line of this entry about Old South Meeting House is incorrect. The steeple of Old South Meeting House is the original and has never been replaced.

    The writer may have confiused Old South Meeting House with Old North Church – that steeple has come down twice following major storms.

    We hope that the entry can be corrected – thanks very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *