Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Park Street Church • Boston
Park Street Church • Boston

Rehabilitation & Restoration

Park Street Church, constructed in 1809 and dedicated in 1810, celebrates its bicentennial this year. Prominently situated between the Boston Common and the Granary Burial Ground, the church is truly an iconic structure in the city. It was designed in the Federal style by architect Peter Banner, with its column capitals carved by Solomon Willard, who was best known for designing and building the Bunker Hill monument. The church was called “Brimstone Corner” during the War of 1812, when it was used to store gunpowder. In 1829, it was the site of William Lloyd Garrison’s first public speech. Park Street Church has housed a number of prominent social organizations, including the American Education Society, City Mission Society, Animal Rescue League, and the Boston NAACP.

In anticipation of its bicentennial year, the church undertook a two-phase restoration of its building. The exterior restoration in 2007 consisted of extensive repairs to the brick and brownstone facades. Deteriorated trim elements, roofing, and copper gutters were replaced with matching materials, and long-abandoned fire escapes were removed. The interior restoration in 2008 was a comprehensive accessibility project. The street-level welcome center received an accessible entry, and a new elevator was sensitively installed near the doors to the sanctuary. Pew seating was altered for greater accessibility, with the creation of wheelchair-accessible seats at the central aisles and convertible wheelchair seats at the side aisles. This excellent restoration project ensures the continued prominence of Park Street Church and will serve as a model for accessibility projects in historic structures.

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