Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Boston)

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St. Paul's Church
Cathedral Church of St Paul 05Feb2008.jpg
Location 138 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′21″N 71°3′44.84″W / 42.35583°N 71.0624556°W / 42.35583; -71.0624556Coordinates: 42°21′21″N 71°3′44.84″W / 42.35583°N 71.0624556°W / 42.35583; -71.0624556
Built 1819
Architect Alexander Parris
Solomon Willard
Architectural style Greek Revival
NRHP Reference # 70000730
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 30, 1970[1]
Designated NHL December 30, 1970[2]

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston is the historic cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Located at 138 Tremont Street near Downtown Crossing, directly across from Boston Common and Park Street Station, the cathedral is adjacent to the diocesan offices. The current dean of the cathedral is Jep Streit. The church, designed by Alexander Parris and Solomon Willard and built in 1819, was the first Greek Revival church in New England, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970 for its architectural significance.[3]


19th century[edit]

St. Paul's was founded in 1819 when there were two other Episcopal parishes in Boston, Christ Church (better known as Old North Church), and Trinity Church. Both had been founded before the American Revolution as part of the Church of England. The founders of St. Paul's wanted a totally American parish in Boston.

Interior, 2008

Unusually, at that time, for a church building, St. Paul's was built in Greek Revival architectural style. Its architects were Alexander Parris, best known for Quincy Market, and Solomon Willard, best known for the Bunker Hill Monument.[1] Its granite exterior and sandstone temple front have changed little since its construction. A carving of St. Paul preaching before King Agrippa II was intended to be placed in the pediment over the entrance, but was never executed.

Congregants included Daniel Webster.[4]

20th century[edit]

In 1912, after its neighborhood had become mainly non-residential, the diocese named St. Paul's as its cathedral. At this point its chancel was remodeled with a coffered and gilded half-dome, elaborately carved wood reredos, a chancel organ and choir benches. The new chancel's architect was Ralph Adams Cram, known for such landmark Gothic churches as All Saints', in the Ashmont neighborhood of Boston and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

From the 1880s until 1980, St. Paul's had a choir of men and boys who sang introits, hymns and anthems at Sunday morning worship services. Their founding choirmaster was Warren Andrew Locke, who was concurrently the organist and choirmaster at Harvard University from 1882 to 1910.[5] The choir's final organist and choirmaster was Thomas Murray, who later became University Organist and Professor of Music at Yale University.[6]


Portrait of Samuel Farrar Jarvis, 19th century


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "St. Paul's Church (Episcopal) (Boston)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  3. ^ "NHL nomination for Cathedral Church of St. Paul" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  4. ^ a b Bacon's dictionary of Boston. 1886
  5. ^ "Tablet Dedicated to Warren Andrew Locke, '69," The Cambridge Tribune, Volume XLV, Number 18, 1 July 1922.
  6. ^ "Thomas Murray," Yale School of Music website
  7. ^ Bowen's picture of Boston. 1838
  8. ^ Cyclopædia of American literature. 1858
  9. ^ Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe. Memoirs of the life and services of the Rt. Rev. Alonzo Potter, D.D., LL.D.: bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the diocese of Pennsylvania. Lippincott, 1871 Google books
  10. ^ Homans. Sketches of Boston, past and present. 1851
  11. ^ "Stone, John S. (John Seely) 1795-1882 []". Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  12. ^ New American Cyclopædia. 1868
  13. ^ New England historical and genealogical register, 1881 Google books
  14. ^ "Boston Pulpit". Gleasons Pictorial. Boston, Mass. 5. 1853. 
  15. ^ Appletons' cyclopaedia of American biography. 1888
  16. ^ Who's who in America. 1899
  17. ^ Who's who in New England. 1915

Further reading[edit]

  • King's hand-book of Boston. 1878

External links[edit]