November 12, 1916

Evangelist Billy Sunday Draws 70,000 to Boston Revival

Greater Boston

On this day in 1916, 55,000 people came to hear Billy Sunday preach in Boston. An overflow crowd of 15,000 had to be turned away from the temporary tabernacle that had been erected on Huntington Avenue. During the next ten weeks, the baseball star-turned evangelist drew an estimated 1,500,000 to his Boston meetings. His acrobatic antics, colorful language, frank discussion of sexual mores, and retinue of performers smacked of a vaudeville show. But his masterful preaching moved many to commit their lives to Jesus. Billy Sunday led countless crusades across the nation. The sermons against the evils of alcohol that he delivered in Boston, long remembered as among his most powerful, helped win passage of the constitutional amendment that made prohibition the law of the land.

Related Moments