Church of the Presidents

1306 Hancock Street
Quincy
MA 02169

Church of the Presidents

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The United First Parish Church is a Unitarian Universalist congregation, established as the parish church of Quincy in 1639, and rebuilt in 1828 to designs by Alexander Parris. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 30, 1970.

It is called the Church of the Presidents because two American Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, along with their wives, Abigail Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams attended this church and are interred beneath in a family crypt.

The congregation first gathered in 1636 as a branch of the Church in Boston, becoming an independent church in 1639, then known as simply "Ye Church of Braintry", the whole area then being known as Braintree. It was a Puritan congregationalist church when it was first established but has been Unitarian, in spirit if not in name, since the mid 1700s.

The 1828 church is constructed of Quincy granite. President John Adams financed its construction through a land donation, and the bulk of the granite comes from the Adams family quarry. However, the pillars are from another local quarry, as the Adams quarry was not deep enough for a full-height pillar. Its original bell was cast by Paul Revere but was melted down and recast as it was not loud enough to serve as a fire alarm. The unusual domed ceiling represents a passion flower surrounded by lotuses, and its fine original altar is mahogany.

Both presidents, and their first ladies, are buried in a family vault in the church's basement. Only one other church in the United States contains a presidential tomb, namely the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., which contains the remains of President Woodrow Wilson.

If you visit, be sure to take a close look at the bell tower, where American Kestrals tend to live. Residing here provides these small falcons with a safe home and a good view of their prey (large insects and small birds and mammals).

(617) 773-1290

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