Boston – Tremont Temple Baptist Church
Image by wallyg
In 1838, under Timothy Gilbert, a group of men who longed for a church with free seats began meeting to pray and discuss the exclusive nature of most churches. The Baptist Free Church, organized in 1839 with 82 charter members, conducted its first public worship in Tremont Hall, at31 Tremont St, in December 1838. Membership grew rapidly as they moved to Congress Hall at the corner of Milk and Congress, and then to Tremont Chapel on the corner of Bromfield and Tremont.
Mr. Gilbert purchased the Tremont Theatre in 1843, determined to "transform the theatre into a temple of God." Called Tremont Street Baptist Church and later Union Temple Baptist Church, the name Tremont Temple Baptist Church was adopted in 1891.
In 1850, the Baptist Free Church passed a resolution that all slaves be respected, cared for, and protected – in adamant defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law in effect at the time.
The church endured three devastating fires: 1852, 1879 and 1893. The fourth and present building was dedicated in 1896. The present building originally had stores on the ground floor and commercial offices on the upper floors. Revenue from business rents and rental of the auditorium for concerts enabled the church to continue to provide free seats to all worshipers.
National Historic Register #86003803