The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Preservation Honor Award to the Charles Street Meeting House for its successful restoration and reuse.
History of the Charles Street Meeting House
The Charles Street Meeting House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is part of the Beacon Hill Historic District. The Charles Street Meeting House was constructed in 1807 for the Third Baptist Church in Boston. Asher Benjamin was the Architect.
The site chosen for the new Meeting House was by the side of the Charles River, which in those days at high tide came up to the bottom of Beacon Hill. Tradition has it that this site was chosen so that believers could be immersed in the Charles River.
In the middle of the 1850's radical changes were made to the interior of the building. The classic New England Meeting House entrance and auditorium were converted to satisfy taste popular in mid-Victorian days.
In 1921 the Meeting House was moved ten feet to the west to allow for the widening of Charles Street. The exterior was restored at that time.
In 1939 the Meeting House was purchased by the Charles Street Meeting House Society, a group of religious liberals unofficially representing six different denominations. It was the object of this Society to purchase the building, preserve it worthily, and to use it for religious and educational activities.
Between 1975 and 1980 the Meeting House was used sporadically and fell into serious disrepair. But in 1980 the Meeting House was purchased by the Charles Street Meeting House Associates, with the intent of performing historic restoration of the exterior and finding viable, compatible uses for the interior spaces. Exterior restoration and interior renovation for office, retail, and residential uses commenced in the fall of 1981. Construction and occupancy were completed in the summer of 1982.
On May 6, 1983 The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Preservation Honor Award to the Charles Street Meeting House for its successful restoration and reuse. On September 22, 1984 The American Institute of Architects presented the Award for Excellence in Architecture to the Charles Street Meeting House for its reuse and restoration.