Old South Church

Exterior and Interior Restoration and System Upgrades

Project at a Glance

Boston, MA


Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Managing complex restoration scope around a continually operating church
  • Working within a constricted urban site in a thriving commercial district
  • Repairing damage to the structure and historic fabric caused by construction within the adjacent subway station

Old South Church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark, is a Boston architectural icon built in 1873. Located in Copley Square, this notable structure required a significant renovation to repair a major crack in the east elevation of the building along with restoration scope to preserve architectural details and maintain the long-term integrity of the exterior.

Exterior scope included full rebuilding of the Roxbury pudding stones, preservation of brownstone and sandstone decorative elements and the full restoration of the lancet and tracery stained glass windows on the east and south elevations, which were reset with an iso-thermal protective glazing system. Interior scope required extensive shoring, scaffolding and the removal of the pipe organ to facilitate access to impacted areas, included plaster repairs and replication of historical decorative paint scheme. The organ was refurbished while in storage and reinstalled upon project completion.

All work was managed around ongoing church operations, with activities including a daily women’s lunch program, daycare, weddings and regular services.