Park Street Church

Park Street Church

Peter Banner, 1810

Mills Whitaker Architects, renovation, 2009

Preservation Achievement Award, 2010

To make way for the church, it was necessary to demolish the 1738 granary, a long wooden structure designed to hold 12,000 bushels of grain in case of scarcity. Next to it on Park Street was the workhouse, a two-story 120-foot-long building that accommodated idlers, tramps, and vagabonds and kept them busy working.

The English architect Peter Banner adapted a Christopher Wren design for the steeple, which rises 217 feet. It stood as the tallest building in Boston for over 50 years, until 1867.

The church has always emphasized evangelism and missions; it founded the Hawaiian church that was responsible for the establishment of many other churches in the remote Pacific islands beginning in 1819. Several Boston families sent sons there to make their fortunes or to serve as missionaries. It was in Park Street Church that William Lloyd Garrison gave his first speech against slavery and where the song “America” was first sung. The location of the church came to be known as “brimstone corner” because of the zeal of its Congregational preachers. Also contributing to the name was the fact that gunpowder was stored in its basement during the War of 1812.

In the early twentieth century, a flower shop and tearoom were installed in the basement facing out on the Common.