Category Archives: Churches

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.
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First Congregational Church of Boylston (1927)

First Congregational Church of Boylston

The origins of the First Congregational Church of Boylston go back to 1742, when the North Precinct in Shrewsbury (now Boylston) was incorporated. The congregation’s first meeting house was built near the site of the present Old Cemetery. When the time came to build a new meeting house (constructed in 1793), there was a protracted controversy over where in town it should be located. After the decision was finally made to build the Church on the site of the present Sawyer Memorial Library, residents in the western side of town, who had wanted the church built closer to their homes, began the process which eventually led to the incorporation of West Boylston as a separate town. The third meeting house was built in the Greek Revival style in 1835. After it burned in 1924 it was replaced, on the same site, by the current church, completed in a similar style in 1927. The original bell of the third meeting house is used in the present building.

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Harvard Shaker Meetinghouse (1791)

Harvard Shaker Meetinghouse

The Meetinghouse at the former Harvard Shaker Village, which existed from 1791 to 1917, is one of ten built by the Enfield Shaker Moses Johnson (for instance, he also built the Shirley Shaker Meeting House, now located at Hancock Shaker Village). The frame of the Meetinghouse was raised on June 8, 1791 and the first Sabbath meeting was held inside on January 22, 1792. The Shakers moved the building southwards to its present site (82 Shaker Road) in 1857. At that time, they enlarged the original gambrel roof to a gable roof and added a stairway ell on each end of the building. The building is now a private residence.

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Harvard Shaker Square House (1769)

Square House

The town of Harvard was once home to the second Shaker community in the United States and the first in Massachusetts. Religious dissenters in the town had built the structure known as the “Square House” in 1769. They were followers of Shadrach Ireland, a “New Light” Baptist preacher who died in 1778 (an event that astounded his followers, who believed him to be immortal!). Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, visited this dissenting community in 1781-1782 and brought them into the United Society of Believers (Shakers). The Square House then became her base for two years as she went on missionary trips to establish other Shaker communities in New England. The house was used for various purposes by the Shakers until the community closed in 1917. The building‘s original hipped roof was replaced by a gable roof in 1845, at which time the Shakers also added a porch, a third floor and an addition. The house (94 Shaker Road) is now a private residence. The picture above is not a good view, but I have used it due to the building’s great historical and religious importance.

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