Charles Street Meeting House (1804)

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Designed by Asher Benjamin in 1804, the Charles Street Meeting House in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood began as the Third Baptist Church of Boston (it was built on reclaimed land near the Charles River where baptisms could be performed). In the 1830s, abolitionist members, led by Timothy Gilbert, challenged the church’s segregationist seating arrangements and went on to found the integrated Tremont Temple Baptist Church. In the years before the Civil War, the church became a center of abolitionism, with many notable speakers addressing audiences there, including William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. From 1876 to 1939, the building was the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1920, the church was moved ten feet west to accommodate the widening of Charles Street. With the departure of the African-American community from the north slope of Beacon Hill, it served as an Albanian Orthodox Church and lastly a Unitarian Universalist Church to 1979. In the 1980s, the Charles Street Meeting House was converted to secular use as offices. The building is on the Black Heritage Trail.

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One Response to Charles Street Meeting House (1804)

  1. Readers of this page may be interested in my new book, A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England, which just won the Independent Publishers 2011 Gold Medal for the best northeast regional nonfiction book of the year. See: http://www.aspaceforfaith.com .

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