New Old South Church

New Old South Church

Cummings and Sears, 1874–1875

Tower rebuilt 1941

Restoration: Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, 1985

National Historic Landmark

The Old South Church moved to Copley Square from its eighteenth-century meetinghouse on Washington Street. The northern Italian Gothic design creates wonderful skyline views from many directions with its tall campanile and Venetian lantern. It is the perfect focus for the pivotal corner of Copley Square, counterpoint to the horizontal mass of the Boston Public Library and the monolithic Trinity Church.

Exterior ornament is abundant and well executed, including multicolored stone inlays, zebra-striped arches, tracery, and ironwork. A stone set into the portico wall records the death of one of the original members of Old South Church, John Alden, eldest son of John and Priscilla Alden of Plymouth Colony. A Paul Revere chalice is in the church’s silver collection. After the original 246-foot tower was built, it began to lean until it was 36 inches out of plumb. It was finally taken down in 1931 and rebuilt lower in 1941.