Southwick Congregational Church (1824)

The original meeting house in Southwick of 1773, located in Southwick‘s central village, burned in August 1823 and was replaced with the current meeting house, built in 1824-1825. A Federal/Greek Revival structure, the Southwick Congregational Church is considered to be one of the finest works of its architect, Isaac Damon of Northampton. According to George C. Gardener, writing in The American Architect and Building News (Vol. XLVII, No. 996, Jan. 26, 1895):

Capt. Isaac Damon appears to have been the leading architect of Western Massachusetts from 1812 to 1840, his influence on public and ecclesiastical work being even greater than [Asher] Benjamin’s on domestic. He designed and built at least thirteen churches in this region and nearly all the town-halls and court-houses; his specialty, however, was bridges, and there are several of his drawings still preserved

As the church neared completion, on November 6, 1824, two letters signed by the men working on the church were placed in a box inside one of the columns. These were rediscovered during a restoration in 1950 (see pdf article) and reveal that the workers came, not from Southwick, but from many other towns in the region.

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4 Responses to Southwick Congregational Church (1824)

  1. Lee David Hamberg says:

    The first Southwick Congregational Meetinghouse, built in 1773 ( located at the southwest corner of College Highway and Bugbee Road), and survived until August of 1823 (not 1824), when it burned (probably struck by lightning).

    The present meetinghouse is only the second one, not the third.

  2. Daniel says:

    I’ve fixed the date that the church burned. This source: http://books.google.com/books?id=i_ISmusdkIQC&pg=PA209#v=onepage&q&f=false had 1824 as the date.
    According to that same source: “The first house of worship was built about a mile south of the Centre, and it is believed that the old structure was not completed before the erection of the new meeting house at the village. The latter was built in 1783, and from that time the Congregational church has been the leading ecclesiastical body of the town. In 1824, during the pastorate of Rev. Calvin Foote, the church edifice was burned, and in its stead the present house of worship was erected in 1825.” That would seem to indicate 3 successive church buildings, one south of where the other 2 were located. Although the source was wrong on the date of 1824, it may be correct about there being an earlier meetinghouse. I’ve edited the text to make things more clear.

  3. Lee David Hamberg says:

    Dear Daniel,
    My source is, Jean Mason, Geneva Baillieul, Gilbert Arnold, Paul Baillieul and Lorenzo Lanbson, “Southwick Congregational Church History,” no place (Southwick, Massachusetts), no date (1973). All were avid local historians and charter members of the Southwick Historical Society. Their sources included the church records, Town of Southwick town meeting minutes, Maude Davis, “Historical Facts and Stories About Southwick,” Southwick, Massachusetts, July 1951, as well as other secondary sources. Alfred Copeland’s statement about a second meetinghouse is sadly, inaccurate.

    Peace,
    Lee Hamberg

  4. Daniel says:

    I’ve edited the post! Thanks!