Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Boston, Massachusetts

St. Stephen's Church

A centuries-old church stands as a testament to Boston's "father of architecture." 

St. Stephen’s is the last remaining church in Boston by Charles Bulfinch, thought to be the first American to study and practice architecture as a profession.

He created an astounding number of early buildings in Boston and across the Northeastern United States, although many are not standing today. Despite his work ethic he was often in debt, and even spent a month of 1811 in a jail he’d designed himself. His luck turned in 1817 when he befriended President James Monroe and won a commission to design the Capitol building in Washington, DC.

Bulfinch built several churches in Boston, but St. Stephen’s church is the only one remaining. Examples of the balance and simplicity he used in his designs, and his use of Federal-style ornamentation, can be seen here.