Joshua Blanchard, builder, 1729
National Historic Landmark
A handsome spire of wood surmounts the balustraded square brick tower of the Wren-influenced Old South Meeting House, Boston’s second- oldest church. (The oldest is Old North Church.) Originally this was the site of the garden of John Winthrop. It was here that the town meetings leading to the Boston Tea Party and the Revolution were held.
In 1670 the first meetinghouse of the South Church was built on the site, and Benjamin Franklin was baptized here in 1705, across the street from his birthplace at 17 Milk Street. After the British occupation, the church was left in such poor condition that the congregation was unable to use it for five more years. It narrowly escaped destruction in the Great Fire of 1872, which stopped just short of it. Again in 1876 it came close to demolition for commercial development but was saved in the nick of time through a public appeal for funds to purchase the property. The Old South Association has operated Old South Meeting House as a monument and a museum of its role in American history since that time. The congregation has met in the New Old South Church in Copley Square since 1875.