Arlington Street Church

Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Inc., Opus 1307, 1957


Arlington Street Church, the first public building to be erected on the landfill of Back Bay, was begun in 1859 and dedicated in 1861.  Architect Arthur Gilman took the London church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields as his exterior model, reinterpreted in New Jersey brownstone.  The interior owes much to the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato in Genoa.  A 190-foot steeple houses its original chime of sixteen bells.  Inside, an exceptional ensemble of windows by Tiffany Studios spans the firm’s work from 1898 to 1930.  Gathered in 1729 by Scottish Calvinists, the congregation evolved into a bastion of Unitarian Universalist liberalism under William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), becoming in 2004 the site of the first state-sanctioned same-sex marriage in the United States. - Ross Wood