St. Stephen's Church

St. Stephen's Church

Originally New North Church

Charles Bulfinch, 1802–1804

Restoration: Chester F. Wright, 1964–1965

National Register of Historic Places

Of the five churches Bulfinch built in Boston, only this one remains. It is a staggeringly intricate composition of recessed brick arches, lunettes, Ionic pilasters, entablatures, balustrades, urns, pedestals, scroll brackets, pediments, engaged columns, and an octagonal cupola. Somehow he managed to keep this assemblage under control. The interior side aisles and galleries are expressed in the façade by lower recessed wings flanking the central entrance under a tower thrust to the front in the manner of English architect James Gibbs.

The Rev. Francis Parkman, father of the noted historian, was minister here from 1813 until 1849. To serve the Catholic immigrants arriving in the North End, the Unitarian church was sold to the Roman Catholic diocese in 1862 and renamed St. Stephen’s. The weather vane was removed and a spire constructed over the cupola.

In 1870 the church was moved back 16 feet to accommodate the widening of Hanover Street.