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First Parish Church

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1833, Isaiah Rogers; 1928 interior remodeling, Allen W. Jackson. 1446 Massachusetts Ave./1–3 Church St.
  • (Damie Stillman)

Adjacent to the Old Burying Ground rises the Unitarian First Parish Church of 1833. This early example of Gothic Revival must have produced an extraordinary contrast to its eighteenth-century neighbor, Christ Church (RA3). Much of the effect of Isaiah Rogers' design has been lost with removals of finials and battlements that originally ornamented the tower and buttresses. Stripped of much of its Gothic trim, the church now seems to justify the harsh comments made by a critic in 1844 that the design was little more than a barn with a steeple. Until 1873, First Parish Church was used for Harvard commencement.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "First Parish Church", [Cambridge, 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, 341-341.

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