Built in 1729, the Old South Meeting House is best known for its role during of Boston Tea Party. On December 16, 1773, several thousand colonists gathered at the meeting house to discuss the proper response to British taxation. From this historic church, the participants launched the most famous political protest in colonial history.
The Puritans first built a wooden meetinghouse, called
the “Third Church,” on this site in 1669.
Over the years, the congregation grew and the building became too small
for their services, so the existing structure was built in 1729. It was the largest building in colonial
Boston at the time. According to the Old
South Meeting House’s website, it was used both for church services and public
gatherings. Town meetings were typically
held at Faneuil Hall. However, if the
expected crowd was too large for that venue, the meeting would be moved to the more
spacious Old South Meeting House.
Revolutionaries met in this building prior to the
War to discuss their opposition to the series of Acts passed by the British
Parliament and imposed upon them in the new colony. On June 14, 1768, they met in this building
to protest the legislation which allowed the British Navy to force New England
sailors into its service. Nearly two years
later, on the day following the Boston Massacre which killed five residents of
the city, another meeting was held.
Originally scheduled for Faneuil Hall, it was moved to the Old South
Meeting House to accommodate the thousands of furious colonists. They demanded that Britain remove both regiments
of the soldiers, stating that the soldiers and the colonists could no longer
Colonists also met several times in 1773 to
protest the controversial tax on tea which had been levied by Britain upon the
people of Boston. These meetings led up
to the famous Boston Tea Party celebrated in New England history.
Another interesting historical note about the Old
South Meeting House concerns the clock on the building’s exterior. The tower clock was added to the structure in
1768. Today the clock remains the nation's oldest tower clock (that
was made in America) and which continues to operate in its original location.