2, 3 at Clark St.; A, C at High St.
Opened in 1846, The Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims was once a major Abolitionist center where well-heeled crowds would listen as Henry Ward Beecher railed against the evils of slavery and the impending Civil War. Beecher—brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin)—made headlines by concluding many sermons with a mock slave auction where he would act as a fast-talking auctioneer in search of donations towards the purchase of slaves' freedom. Most notable was the time a parishioner placed a small gold ring in the offering plate for a young slave girl named Pinkie, who returned to the church in 1927 to give thanks (and to return the ring). In keeping with its longstanding egalitarian spirit, the still-active church's modest interior resembles an auditorium and lacks a center aisle, granting good sightlines to all and creating near-perfect acoustics. Outside, the larger complex consists of five, unassuming red brick Colonial-American buildings, designed by English architect J.C. Wells. Nearly 2,000 people visit this national historic landmark yearly to glimpse Pinkie's storied ring and Abraham Lincoln's one-time pew as well as to visit the dank basement for historic accounts of the Underground Railroad.Historic Documents
Visitors can view original copies of The Plymouth Collection, the first hymnal book published in the United States. Beecher himself assembled it in 1855 thereby forever changing how Americans incorporate song into weekly prayer rituals.
Windows on History
Stained glass windows in the Plymouth Sanctuary depict historical themes such as the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Free guided tours are available by prior arrangement, Mon.—Fri., 10 a.m.—4 p.m., and Sun., noon—4 p.m.
Church services are held Sun., 11 a.m.—noon, 10 a.m.—11 a.m. during summer.