Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Print Department

This week’s photo is a lithograph print of Christ Church, known to all as Old North Church, when it was first built in 1723. Today, the building brings many tourists to the area, as it is the oldest surviving church in the city and has quite a bit of U.S. history associated with it!

Old North Church’s original steeple, shown above, was actually blown down during a storm 1804. Reconstruction followed, yet again in 1954, the steeple came down in a hurricane. A photo of the second steeple is shown below.

Old North Church Bulfinch Steeple, 1865 (approximate)
Courtesy of Boston Public Library, Print Department

Today’s steeple incorporates elements from both of the designs.

Additionally, the building’s basement has an estimated 1,100 bodies buried in a total of 37 tombs. Several notable figures have been buried there, including the Founding Rector Timothy Cutler, British Marine Major John Pitcairn, and Captain Samuel Nicholson of the USS Constitution.

Tune in on Thursday’s to view our featured neighborhood photo from back in the day! Submit your historical photos using our Submit a Post form or tag @northend.waterfront on Instagram. Please include a caption or story telling about your photo.

See past historic neighborhood photo posts.

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  1. The 1954 hurricane was Carol. Our family building on Hanover Street had a direct view of the Old North Church. During the
    hurricane we watched the steeple sway from East to West — a visual never to be forgotten. Boston Fire tried to lasso it to keep it steady and we were rooting for them but, unfortunately, their brave efforts were in vain. It went down in an instant creating a large yellowish cloud. Watching the church steeple “grow back” was another historic and memorable experience for our family.


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