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Arts & Entertainment

Step Back in Time with a Tour of King’s Chapel

A tantalizing glimpse into Boston’s past


For more than 300 years, King’s Chapel has had a vital place in Boston’s history. Founded in 1686, it was the first Anglican church in an overwhelmingly Puritan city. The current building was completed in 1754; services were briefly suspended during the Revolutionary War, when anti-British sentiment was high. King’s Chapel congregants and British sympathizers who remained after the evacuation of British troops in 1776 helped establish the Unitarian Christian faith.

With its Greco-Roman columns, King’s Chapel is noted for its striking architecture. It was designed by Peter Harrison, referred to as America’s first architect. Take an Art & Architecture tour, offered daily, to learn more about the building’s design.

The chapel is one of the first large buildings in Boston to be made of stone. Visitors can see the original box pews, where George Washington, Paul Revere, and Oliver Wendell Holmes once sat, and both floors of the sanctuary, and learn about the chapel’s themes of continuity and change and how past architectural choices inform the space today.

As its title implies, the tour also focuses on the chapel’s impressive art collection. The oldest painting dates to 1696, a gift from King William and Queen Mary of England.

Knowledgeable tour guides explain how the stone chapel was built around the original 1686 wooden church and offer insights into how the space has changed over time. You’ll learn about many of the early prominent congregants, arcane trivia like why the interior is no longer painted pink, and the stories behind some of the most significant artworks.

King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St., Boston, offers Art & Architecture Tours Monday through Saturday at 10:15 am and 4 pm, and at 4 pm on Sundays. Purchase tickets ($5 for adults, $3 for children under 13) in advance online here. Take a Green Line trolley to Park Street.

Carina Imbornone can be reached at carinami@bu.edu.

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