Tower at new Old South not as old as rest of new Old South

Old South tower construction, 1937Old South tower reconstruction, 1937.

By 1932, the tower at what was then called New Old South Church in Copley Square was leaning so much the church had to tear it down for fear it would topple over. Construction began in 1937 on a replica replacement that, so far, has not become a leaning tower of Boston atop the original 1875 church.

Leslie Jones photographed both the demolition of the old tower and the construction of the new one - here in a shot from the Lenox Hotel. More photos, in the BPL's Boston churches collection.

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So in a fit of nostalgia, the

So in a fit of nostalgia, the MBTA decided to have a construction company undermine the foundations and crack the walls of the church.

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Tempoary Attraction

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The funny thing about the new Old South (and a lot of other non-residential buildings in the Back Bay) is that they were built in a Disney-esque fashion to attract rich people to build and buy homes in the Back Bay. This is particularly evident in the Arlington Street church, built out of a cheap, crappy stone that has been falling apart for the better part of a century. However it's no surprise the Old South's tower started leaning. The original designers never thought that it would be around nearly as long as it has, and especially not revered as an architectural jem as it is now.

This is not to say I advocate tearing it down, or not attempting to preserve it for the future. The Eiffel Tower was meant to only be around for the Worlds Fair, and yet today it still stands as the symbol of Paris, if not all of France. Its just funny to see how similar Bostonians of the 1800s were to us. The Back Bay was a development, complete with identical blocks of row houses and attractions built to bring people in. Today it would be a supermarket and community center, then it was churches and a museum.

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Not entirely correct

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complete with identical blocks of row houses and attractions built to bring people in.

There are very few identical buildings in the back bay (a few "twins" - identical/similar side by side - I live in one half of a twin). However, developers would generally build on spec - with largely similar architecture. Most of the buildings in the back bay were commissioned - which is why they are all so different. The South End is far more like a planned development with blocks of similar houses - although there are many parts where that is not true either.

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