Walk to the Sea

King’s Chapel

Around 1750, the present, stone version of King’s Chapel replaced the wooden structure of 1688, which had been built by order of King James II. It was the first Anglican church in Boston, erected on the old burying ground over strong Puritan objections. Puritan power had weakened, and James had appointed a royal governor to administer the colonies of Massachusetts.

Maginfy icon King's Chapel and busy School Street in 1920
Maginfy icon Inside of Chapel, showing first floor and balcony pews, with pipe organ in the far back.
Maginfy icon King's Chapel Photograph from 1853
Maginfy icon Benjamin Franklin statue which marks the site of the old Boston Latin School
Maginfy icon Old Boston City Hall in 1865

Behind the wooden chapel was the Boston Latin School. The Boston Latin School is the oldest American public school still operating, though it is now located in the Longwood neighborhood. The school trained many of America’s founders, including Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.

On the site of the former Latin School now stands the Old City Hall, symbolizing the far more cosmopolitan spirit of Victorian Boston. Completed in 1865, it was an inspired example of the French Second Empire style, with its distinctive copper mansard roof, now a faded blue-green. The handsome building served until 1969, when the new City Hall opened nearby at Government Center.


  • Freedom Trail

    Here, at Tremont Street, the red line of the Freedom Trail passes in front of King’s Chapel on its way to 16 national historic landmarks relating to the American Revolution. The trail begins at the Boston Common, two blocks south on Tremont Street. It passes through the old North End, where legendary patriots such as Paul Revere plotted to foil the British military strategy, and goes on to Bunker Hill and "Old Ironsides," the U.S.S. Constitution.

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