Touring Sudbury’s Historic Meetinghouse

First Parish of Sudbury, Free Tours, Tricentennial, MeetinghouseOn July 4, I will be leading free tours of Sudbury’s Historic Meetinghouse as part of the town’s tricentennial observance. This lets me combine my interest in history and my tour guiding skills with the church where we have been members of the First Parish of Sudbury since the mid-eighties.

Why am I doing this? Well, like most old places, the Meetinghouse played an extremely important role in the creation of the town of Sudbury, MA, one that most people don’t know about. Residents drive by it almost every day and think of the Meetinghouse as the Big White Church on the Hill but they have no idea that it is more than one of Sudbury’s dozen or so houses of worship.

Learning to Love History

I didn’t always like history but that door opened up in 2013 when I studied to become a docent for Boston By Foot. When I lived in the city, I knew very little about its founding and even less about architectural trends. That interest blossomed as I began to understand more.

Meetinghouse, First Parish of Sudbury, Free Tours, HistoryMy interest grew because I am incurably curious but my curiosity doesn’t extend to the minutiae of wars and politics. I want to know about the city itself. I’m always asking questions like:

  • What building used to be on that corner?
  • Why was that place important?
  • Why does that structure look the way it does?
  • Who or what was that street named for?
  • Why don’t those steps lead anywhere?

I like finding that information and sharing it with others. Plus, I enjoy doing the research that goes behind ala the Posts About Boston that I write for The Next Phase Blog.

Learning About the Meetinghouse

Translating that interest to Sudbury’s Historic Meetinghouse took no effort at all.

Meetinghouse, First Parish of Sudbury, south view, steeple,

Sudbury’s Historic Meetinghouse

Now I know – and can share – why the Meetinghouse is on that hill and, most of all, why it is important. I have learned about the clock, the bell, the weathervane, and the organ. I know what lies underneath the trap door in the Parish Hall and why you can see three foyer windows from the outside but only two on the inside.

As with most stories about historical places, there is much more to know and tell than I will have time for on the Independence Day tours. This includes the story about the minister who was locked out by the congregation and the minister who was tried and dismissed for being seen in a tavern on the Lord’s Day.

What You Will See

Still, I will do my best to convey as much as I can. I have written the tour script and now I just have to memorize all the details. Next week I will do a couple of onsite run-throughs to make sure it all works right.

First Parish, Memorial Garden, Azalea, springtime

The Memorial Garden

If you want to hear the points I mentioned above …

  • Discover why there are only 11 carriage sheds instead of 22 …
  • See the Posting Stone and learn what it was used for …
  • Walk through the Memorial Garden …
  • Find out what happened on the Town Green in 1775 …

… then come along on a tour of Sudbury’s Historic Meetinghouse. I will be in costume and I hope to see you there.

Sign Up Now for a FREE Tour

Where: 327 Concord Road, Sudbury MA 01776
Date: July 4, 2022
Times: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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