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New Old South Church

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1874, Cummings and Sears. 645 Boylston St.
  • New Old South Church (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)

It can be difficult to see even a very good building when it lies in the shadow of a great one. Variously dismissed as merely pretty or outright showy, New Old South Church has suffered by comparison with its acclaimed neighbor across Copley Square, Richardson's Trinity Church, Boston (BB37). As a transcription in Roxbury puddingstone of northern Italian Gothic, New Old South exemplifies the influence of John Ruskin on nineteenth-century Boston architecture. The copper-clad lantern at the transepts' crossing is a microcosm of Ruskin's beloved St. Mark's in Venice. After the campanile began to lean dangerously to the southwest, it was rebuilt, somewhat shorter than originally, in the 1930s. Appropriate for a Congregational church, the interior is focused on a raised platform for the pulpit, with the communion table below.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "New Old South Church", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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