Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Boston)

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St. Paul's Church
2017 St. Paul's Cathedral, Boston, Massachusetts.jpg
Location138 Tremont Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°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
ArchitectAlexander Parris
Solomon Willard
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference #70000730
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 30, 1970[1]
Designated NHLDecember 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 acting dean of the cathedral was the Rev. Nancy Gossling, following the retirement of the Rev. Jep Streit in February 2017.[3] On April 22, 2018, Amy E McCreath was named[4] the ninth dean and first female dean of the Cathedral Church of St Paul, and was installed as dean on September 29, 2018.[5] 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.[6]

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 for that time, for a church building, St. Paul's was built in the Greek revival 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.[7]

20th century[edit]

In 1912, after its neighborhood had become mainly non-residential, the diocese named St. Paul's as its cathedral. Then 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 to 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, concurrently the organist and choirmaster at Harvard University from 1882 to 1910.[8] The choir's final organist and choirmaster was Thomas Murray, who later became University Organist and Professor of Music at Yale University.[9]

Samuel Farrar Jarvis, 19th century
Treadwell Walden (photo, 1860s)



See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "St. Paul's Church (Episcopal) (Boston)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  3. ^ "Gossling appointed acting dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul". Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "NHL nomination for Cathedral Church of St. Paul". National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  7. ^ a b Bacon's dictionary of Boston. 1886
  8. ^ "Tablet Dedicated to Warren Andrew Locke, '69," The Cambridge Tribune, Volume XLV, Number 18, 1 July 1922.
  9. ^ "Thomas Murray," Yale School of Music website
  10. ^ Bowen's Picture of Boston. 1838
  11. ^ Cyclopædia of American Literature. 1858
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ Homans. Sketches of Boston, Past and Present. 1851
  14. ^ "Stone, John S. (John Seely) 1795–1882". Retrieved 2016-02-21.
  15. ^ New American Cyclopædia. 1868
  16. ^ New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1881 Google books
  17. ^ "Boston Pulpit". Gleasons Pictorial. Boston, Mass. 5. 1853.
  18. ^ Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 1888
  19. ^ Who's Who in America. 1899
  20. ^ Who's Who in New England. 1915

Further reading

  • King's hand-book of Boston. 1878

External links[edit]