United First Parish Church History

History of our church

First  gathered in 1636 as a branch of Church in Boston (founded in 1633),  First Parish was established as an independent Church in 1639. Known  then simply as "Ye Church of Braintry," its establishment made it  possible for the Town of Braintree to incorporate in 1640. "Old  Braintree" eventually became the City of Quincy ante the towns of  Holbrook, Randolph and Braintree. 


Over  its 350 years, the congregation of historic First Parish has played an  important part in the building of this city, the state, and indeed the  nation. Like their ancestors before them, both Presidents John Adams and  John Quincy Adams were life-long members of the Church. Their tombs  stand in a crypt within the church, beside those of their wives, Abigail  and Louisa Catherine. Also, the Patriot John Hancock was baptized in  this church by his father, the Rev. John Hancock, who served here as  minister from 1726 to 1744. 


Originally  founded by Puritan congregationalists, and Unitarian since 1750, First  Parish continues to serve the community as a leader in liberal religion.  Inspired by a noble heritage, the Church endeavors "to hold fast  Freedom, Friendship, and Faith" for a service of humanity and the  building of a more just and compassionate world.


Prior to its establishment as an independent Church in 1639, it was located in what was then Mount Wollaston. John Wheelwright was a minister who, together with his sister-in-law, Anne Hutchinson were  banished 1637 because of his having been pronounced guilty of sedition  and contempt for preaching a sermon supporting her and her followers.  This dispute was known as the Antinomian Controversy. Here is a record of her banishment "as being a woman not fit for our society". Here is a discussion of why Anne Hutchinson was considered a threat.

In 1958, the Wollaston Unitarian Society merged with First Parish to become the United First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist, of Quincy.

This magnificent edifice, built of granite donated by John Adams, was designed by Alexander Parris and completed in 1828. It is the congregation's fourth home and replaced the wooden Hancock Meeting House on the same site.   The  United First Parish Church building, considered the finest existing  Greek Revival church in New England, is a National Historic Landmark. It  was designed by noted architect Alexander Parris, who also designed  Quincy Market in Boston.


United  First Parish Church, once known as the Old Stone Temple, has a rich  history in both the social and religious community.  Known today as the  Church of the Presidents, United First Parish Church is the burial place  of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and First Ladies Abigail  Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams.

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Visitors Program Operating Dates

Additional Information

Visiting the historic sanctuary and Adams Crypt 


2019 Season 


Daily Tours: Saturday April 13th, 2019- Monday November 11th, 2019.


Tour Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 11 am - 4 pm

Sunday: 12pm - 4pm


2019 Special Tour Dates: Thanksgiving Week 

Fri. Nov. 29: 11 am - 4 pm

Sat. Nov. 30: 11 am - 4 pm

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