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St. Paul's Cathedral

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1819–1820, Alexander Parris; 1913–1927, Ralph Adams Cram. 138 Tremont St.
  • St. Paul's Cathedral (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)

St. Paul's was the first major Greek Revival–style building erected in Boston. In constructing this church, the Episcopal congregation explicitly rejected the Gothic style. For the body of the church, Alexander Parris used Quincy granite, but the Ionic portico and entablature on the sides were fabricated out of sandstone from the Potomac region near Washington, D.C. This material was chosen out of concern that granite would not stand out locally from the houses and warehouses erected of that stone. Solomon Willard, the leading architectural sculptor in Boston, carved the Ionic capitals. A tower and carvings in the tympanum, as well as galleries for the interior, were eliminated as cost-saving measures. St. Paul's was the first important commission by Alexander Parris, who later designed Quincy Market (GC5) and other monumental examples of the Greek Revival style built of granite.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "St. Paul's Cathedral", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 56-57.

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