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King's Chapel

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1749–1754, Peter Harrison. 38 Tremont St.
  • Interior
  • Interior

As the first use of Quincy granite in the city, King's Chapel, a significant eighteenth-century American landmark, originally represented the mostly loyalist Anglican Church in Boston. The congregation obtained the services of Peter Harrison of Newport, the most important designer of buildings in New England during the colonial period. Harrison's design for the exterior included an Ionic portico with a balustrade in stone. However, the portico was not added until 1785–1787, when it was built of wood, without the balustrade or a very elaborate proposed steeple in the style of the London churches of English architect James Gibbs. The interior, with its double monumental colonnades, is an exceptionally fine example of Georgian Palladianism in which Harrison developed his own interpretation of the published designs of Gibbs. Included is a raised pulpit dating from 1717 that was taken from an earlier church. King's Chapel closed after the British occupation of Boston and subsequently reopened in 1785 as the first Unitarian church in the nation. King's Chapel Burying Ground, established as the city's first cemetery in 1630, surrounds the building on the north and east and contains notable examples of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century stone carving marking the graves of leading colonists.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "King's Chapel", [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, 58-59.

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