Category Archives: Churches

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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Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Roman Catholic Church, Adams (1887)

Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Roman Catholic Church

In vol. II of The History of the Catholic Church in the New England States (1899), Rev. John J. McCoy relates the origins of Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs parish:

Just one year beyond a quarter of a century need we go to find the French-Canadian people of Adams assisting for the first time at Mass in a body by themselves. Then, January 4, 1872, Father Charles Crevier, the pastor of the Sacred Heart church at North Adams, gathered them into a hall on the third story of a building in the town, and said Mass for them and preached to them in their native tongue. Five years later, on Park street, upon land which he had already purchased for $2500, he built a frame chapel at a cost of $5000. The original yet serves the people as a school for the parish children. In September, 1882, Bishop O’Reilly made the Rev. John Baptist Charbonneau, then a curate of Father Crevier, the first resident pastor of the Canadians of Adams.

The parish acquired additional property at 21 Maple Street for $15,000 and

Father Charbonneau, in 1887, hardly five years from the time of his appointment, laid the foundation of the spacious and beautiful church which is the pride of the Canadian people today. Bishop O’Reilly is reported as having called the church of the Sept. Douleurs one of the most beautiful in his diocese. It is of Romanesque architecture, 150 feet long by 70 feet wide, and has seating capacity for 1500 people.

In 1998, Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Roman Catholic Church and St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Adams formed a joint parish. In 2008, the two parishes merged to form Pope John Paul the Great Parish, now called Blessed John Paul Parish.

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Former Our Lady of Fatima Church, Worcester (1911)

43 Belmont Street, Worcester

The church at 43 Belmont Street in Worcester was built in 1908-1911. Designed by Fuller and Delano, it was the second building used by the First Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, a congregation that was established in 1881. The congregation merged with two other parishes to form the new Trinity Lutheran Church in 1948 and moved to a new church on Lancaster Street in 1951. The church Belmont Street was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and became Our Lady of Fatima Church. Over the years the building suffered damage from vibrations from the nearby Interstate 290. Major repairs were made in 1999 and the bell tower at the southeast corner of the church was also removed. The parish served area Catholics until 2009, when the church was closed. It was merged with St. Bernard’s Church to form Our Lady of Providence Parish. The vacant church was in danger of being demolished, but in 2012 the Diocese sold the building to the Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts, which had previously been worshiping in a former A.M.E. Zion Church at 21 Belmont Street. The Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts also has a church in Southborough, where it was founded in the 1980s.

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