Built in 1729, Old South Meeting House was not a church, but rather a meeting house for the Puritans to worship. Old South Meeting House was the biggest building in all of colonial Boston and the stage for some of the most dramatic events leading up to the American Revolution, including the meeting that occurred on December 16, 1773. Over 30 tons of taxable tea sat in the holds of three ships moored at Griffin's Wharf, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver. If the tea was unloaded, a tax would have to be paid to England - and people did not want to pay the tea tax when they had no representative in British government. Five thousand colonists crowded into Old South Meeting House to decide what was to be done with the tea. After the failure of a final attempt to have the tea sent back to England, Samuel Adams addressed the crowd, saying, "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country." These words were rumored to be a secret signal to the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians to march down to Griffin’s Wharf and destroy 340 crates of tea, dumping them into the harbor. This event became known as the Boston Tea Party.
A TIMELY RESCUE In 1876, Old South Meeting House was sold by its congregation and scheduled for demolition. At the final hour, a determined group of activists saved it from the wrecking ball, ushering in the first successful historic preservation effort in New England. In 1877, Old South Meeting House was incorporated as an active museum and historic landmark open to the public.
PHILLIS WHEATLEY Phillis Wheatley was a member of the Old South Meeting House congregation, where as a young girl she drew inspiration for writing poetry. In 1773 she became an international recognition as one of the first African-Americans to publish a book, Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral. Kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery in Boston, Wheatley overcame incredible odds and her accomplishments challenged many Bostonians’ views on race. A rare original edition of her book is on exhibit at the Old South Meeting House.
Old South Meeting House - Boston National Historical Park
310 Washington Street
November - March: daily 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
April - October: daily 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Day
Want to go inside Old South Meeting House? There are many ways to visit!
For admission to Old South Meeting House, please purchase tickets here.
For children's admission to Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House, please purchase tickets here.
For admission to both Old South Meeting House and the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, please purchase tickets here.