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Charles Playhouse (Fifth Universalist Church)

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Fifth Universalist Church
1838–1839, Asher Benjamin. 76–78 Warrenton St.
  • Charles Playhouse (Fifth Universalist Church) (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

Converted into the Charles Playhouse around 1960, only the open plan survives from the original interior. Asher Benjamin designed here the Fifth Universalist Church, the latest of his three surviving Boston churches. Benjamin published a similar Greek Revival temple-front design for a church in his The Builder's Guide or A complete system of architecture (1838). Unlike that published design, the columns in antis are Ionic rather than Doric, and the church is raised on a high granite basement to allow for stores underneath, a not uncommon combination in the early nineteenth century to support the congregation.

In 1863–1887, Temple Ohabei Shalom (SE8 and BR5), the oldest Jewish congregation in Boston, converted this red brick with stone trim church for its use. From 1889 until 1925, the building served as a Presbyterian church.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Charles Playhouse (Fifth Universalist Church)", [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, 128-128.

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