Boston’s Most Interesting Churches

July 14, 2014 6:00 AM

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Photo credit: Christian Science

Photo credit: Christian Science

Being one of the oldest cities in the United States gives Boston a leg up in the interesting church department. However, the city’s most historic churches are not the only religious structures in town that have intriguing design, history or religious practice. From the early Puritans, through the Catholic push during and after the Irish Famine and up until now, Boston has been building churches for its residents that only add to the beauty and fascination of the city. The best of them have very varied backgrounds.

Charles Street A.M.E. Church
551 Warren St.
Dorchester, MA 02121
(617) 442-7770
www.charlesstreetame.org

The Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal Church is a congregation dating back to 1818. While the current building does not date back that far, it has a bit of history of its own. It was originally the Saint Ansgarius Church, built in 1888. The A.M.E. moved in 1939 and the church has made its home there since while keeping its Charles Street name because that is where its origins lay. The church in Dorchester is a design in granite and puddingstone with such features as a clock tower with gargoyles and some original stained glass.

Related: Boston Area’s Best Historic Churches

Photo credit: Trinity Church (Facebook)

Photo credit: Trinity Church (Facebook)

Trinity Church
206 Clarendon St.
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-0944
www.trinitychurchboston.org

An Episcopal church housed in an architectural masterpiece, Trinity Church is one of the coolest buildings to see in Boston. The congregation itself is interesting, with a number of unusual community outreach and social programs interwoven with worship. However, the 1877 Romanesque building with stone walls, clay roofs and imposing towers is what visitors first see and often love. Stunning murals, stained glass and sculptures ornament the church’s interior, which is arguably even more beautiful than its facade.

Photo credit: Catheral of the Holy Cross Boston (Facebook)

Photo credit: Catheral of the Holy Cross Boston (Facebook)

Cathedral Of The Holy Cross
1400 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 542-5682
www.holycrossboston.com

One of Boston’s nearly 300 parishes in the Roman Catholic Archdiosese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross stands out in its size and importance to the Roman Catholic Church in Boston. It is the main church of the Boston archdiocese, opened in 1875. That is the same year the church’s famous Hook and Hastings organ was added to the building. The history of the church, including a requiem mass for J.F.K., cannot be ignored, but nor can its impressive Gothic revival design. Made with puddingstone and limestone in amazing style and able to house 1,700 people, this is certainly an important location in Boston.

Photo credit: Christian Science

Photo credit: Christian Science

First Church Of Christ, Scientist
250 Massachusetts Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 450-2000
www.christianscience.com

This massive church is the “Mother Church” of the Christian Science faith. It is as imposing as it is gorgeous with its massive dome towering over the surrounding plaza. The original church was a slightly humbler Romanesque Revival structure with a single tower. The large early 20th century extension that is seen now is a combination Ottoman and Classic-style structure with many features, including balconies and domes, to draw the eye. The Mary Baker Eddy Library and I.M. Pei-designed plaza were added later.

Related: Boston Area’s Best Historic Churches

Photo credit: Old South Church in Boston

Photo credit: Old South Church in Boston

Old South Church
645 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-1970
www.oldsouth.org

One of the earliest congregations in Boston, originating in the 17th century, Old South Church has deep roots in the city. Its current home was finished in 1875. Like many other churches in the area, it was constructed of Roxbury puddingstone, but also has polychromatic stones and tile roof for visual impact. Both in and out, there is a distinctly Gothic feel to every inch of the church, which only serves to make it more impressive in modern Boston. Standing at the base of the tall tower and looking up, a person could easily feel as if he or she were in Europe instead of standing in Copley Square.

Related: Boston’s Best Bars With History

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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