Category Archives: Churches

First Baptist Church, Clinton (1936)

First Baptist Church, Clinton

The First Baptist Church in Clinton began in 1847, the congregation meeting in a chapel previously used by the local Congregational Church. As related in a historical sermon by Rev. Charles M. Bowers, printed in the Semi-centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the Town of Clinton (1900):

The first year of the church had hardly ended before the poor accommodations of the chapel made it necessary to think of building a proper meeting-house, but the question of means was a fearful question. Yet the Lord gave us Alanson Chace and George Cummings to lead in generous subscriptions; others of smaller means were encouraged to follow, and the combined gifts, with contributions from neighboring churches and individuals, provided a neat and comfortable sanctuary at a cost of six thousand dollars, with a seating capacity of four hundred and fifty worshippers. This house was dedicated in 1849. In 1867, or eighteen years after, the church had so increased in numbers that a larger house seemed a necessity, and a new structure by reconstruction and addition was obtained, which, with the organ, cost about eleven thousand dollars, and gave sittings for a congregation of six hundred. The new building was dedicated in 1868.

Twenty-five more years passed away, and it seemed in the judgment of many that with a very popular and attractive preacher we should join the attractions of a still better house. Human nature takes very kindly to human nature, and our third provision for worship in less than fifty years resulted in the beautiful, commodious and well arranged house in which we are now gathered.

The 1890s church burned down in 1934 and was replaced by the current church (14 Walnut Street) in 1936.

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Congregational Church of Interlaken (1827)

Congregational Church of Interlaken

In 1824 plans were made to build a new meeting house by the Stockbridge Congregational Church. The location of the building was a point of contention between members of the congregation. Although it was eventually built near the site of the community’s first meeting house, church members living in the north section of town, known as Curtisville (named for the mill complex erected by Stephen Curtis), felt that the distance was too far to travel. In 1825, after much debate, it was decided to let a new Congregational Society be formed in Curtisville. The North Congregational Society met in the Red School House on Larrywaug Crossroads until its own church, also on Larrywaug Crossroad, was dedicated on January 10, 1827. The building was used until 1834 when it was taken down and and rebuilt at its present site at 6 Willard Hill Road. Curtisville later became known as Interlaken and the church as the Congregational Church of Interlaken A brick edifice, it was in use as a church until 2002, when declining membership led to the congregation’s sale of the building. It was converted into the second home of a New York architect.

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Helen Hills Hills Chapel, Smith College (1955)

Helen Hills Hills Chapel

Smith College did not originally have a chapel because its founders wanted students to be part of the Northampton community and attend local churches. Finally in 1953, an alumna from the class of 1908 named Helen Hills Hills (her maiden name was hills and she married a husband named Hills) offered funds for a college chapel. She stipulated that the building should strictly follow the design of traditional New England meeting houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Designed by William and Geoffrey Platt (sons of Charles Adams Platt) of New York, the nondenominational Helen Hills Hills Chapel was completed in 1955. The interior of the Chapel (123 Elm Street, Northampton) has recently been modified to create a more flexible space: the old fixed pews have been removed in favor of 300 custom-made oak chairs that can be laid out in different configurations.

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First Unitarian Church of Clinton (1853)

First Unitarian Church of Clinton

In 1853, three years after the First Unitarian Society of Clinton was organized the society built at church at 250 Church Street. Now the oldest standing church in Clinton, it was erected on land donated by Henry Fairbanks, one of the partners in the Bigelow Carpet Company. The church was raised in 1872 when the current first level was added underneath the original 1853 church. No longer a Unitarian church, in recent years the building has lost its steeple. It is now the Clinton Spanish Seventh Day Adventist Church.

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Saint Paul’s Universalist Church, Adams (1871)

Elks Lodge, Adams

Located at 63 Center Street in Adams is the former Saint Paul’s Universalist Church, built in the Romanesque style c. 1871-1872. In the later twentieth century the church was sold to Lodge #1335 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. (more…)

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St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Pittsfield (1890)

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

The original St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Pittsfield was built in 1832 near to the Town Hall. When Allen Street was being opened up through its original property, the parish purchased land next door and constructed its current church in 1889-1890. Designed by Peabody & Stearns, St. Stephen’s was constructed of Longmeadow red sandstone. It’s design was no doubt influenced by the Gothic Revival style of the nearby First Congregational Church. Both churches have stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Mary Elizabeth Tillinghast. Services in the church began in 1890 and St. Stephen’s was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, on November 19, 1892. The Parish House at the rear of the church, built in 1916, was expanded in 1956. The church underwent major renovations in 1984.

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First Presbyterian Church, Holyoke (1887)

Former First Presbyterian Church

Holyoke’s First Presbyterian Church was organized in 1886. The new church purchased the corner lot at Cabot and Chestnut Streets (237 Chestnut Street) from the Holyoke Water Power Company. Construction began in September, 1887, and the church was dedicated on March 5, 1889, although it had already been in use since August 1888. The church was built of granite with brownstone trim. It is now home to Centro de Restauracion Emanuel Inc.
(more…)

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Posted in Churches, Holyoke, Romanesque Revival | Tagged | 5 Comments