Old South Meeting House – 6/20/16

One of the best things about being in Boston is the chance to take advantage of events at the many historic sites. Old South Meeting House, built in 1729 on the site of a small Puritan house of worship, was the largest building in Colonial Boston, and the site of debate and rallies that led to the Revolution. Its members included Sam Adams, enslaved African American poet Phillis Wheatley (below),  William Dawes (who rode with Paul Revere), and Ben Franklin’s family who lived across Milk St.

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Old South Meeting could fit as many as 6,000, compared to Fanueil Hall’s 1,300 – Old South is where the colonists met the day after the Boston Massacre in 1770 to demand the removal of all British troops. It’s where over 5,000 men met on December 16, 1773 to debate the odious Tea Tax – when compromise failed, Sam Adams gave the signal and the “Mohawks” headed to Griffins Wharf where it took 150 men nearly 3 hours to dump 340 chests of tea into the harbor.  The Revolution is sparked.

The building has remained a place of debate and discussion to this day. In the 1920s, when Boston’s Watch & Ward society was banning controversial plays, books, and speakers, Old South gave a platform to radicals, Communists, Sacco & Vanzetti supporters, and birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger, gagged, below.

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It’s a beautifully preserved building, now a museum to the Revolution and Freedom of Speech. You can also rent it for private functions. We went to hear a historian talk about his new book on the Battle of Bunker Hill.

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Its threatened demolition in the 1870s led to the first successful historic preservation

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