Tag Archives: Baptist

Still River Baptist Church (1832)

Still River Baptist Church

The Baptist Church in the community of Still River in the town of Harvard was organized in 1776 by fourteen members of Harvard’s First Church. In 1782, the Baptist Society acquired the first meeting house building used in nearby Leominster. It was dismantled and reassembled as the Still River Baptist Church on land donated by the congregation’s first pastor, Dr. Isaiah Parker. The old meeting house was moved again to serve as a parsonage when the current church was built in 1832. Various alterations were made to the 1832 church over the years, including an addition in 1902. In 1967, the building, which is located at 213 Still River Road, was acquired by the Harvard Historical Society with the stipulation that they preserve the sanctuary, organ (added in 1870), and various furnishings. The Society converted the vestry into exhibit space

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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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Central Baptist Church, Westfield (1867)

Central Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church of Westfield was formed in 1784. In 1833, the church split over the issue of supporting missions. Those in favor of supporting missions left to form the Central Baptist Church. Soon most of the members of the First Baptist Church were absorbed into Central Baptist. The new church’s first meeting house was built in 1837-1838 at the corner of Elm and Church Streets in Westfield. Plans for erecting the current church (at 115 Elm Street) began in 1863. The Chapel (now Hays Hall) was completed in 1867 and the sanctuary was built the following year.

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First Baptist Church, Pittsfield (1927)

First Baptist Church, Pittsfield

The origins of the Baptist church in Pittsfield go back to the eighteenth century, but its first meeting house was completed in 1827. It was located on North Street, on the northwest corner of the burial ground. The church’s growth led to the construction of a larger building in 1850, which was enlarged and remodeled in 1874-1875. This church was demolished in 1920 to make way for the Onota Building. The First Baptist Church‘s current edifice, at 88 South Street, was built in 1927-1930 (the parish house being completed first in 1926). It was designed by Joseph McArthur Vance.

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First Churches of Northampton (1877)

First Churches of Northampton is made up of the combined congregations of the First Church of Christ and the First Baptist Church. The first meeting house of the town’s Puritan settlers was constructed in 1655 on what became known as “Meeting House Hill,” near where the courthouse stands today. A new meeting house, further up the hill, was then built in 1661. The third meeting house was built in 1737, during the pastorate of Jonathan Edwards. It was replaced in 1812 by what became known as the “Old Church,” a Federal-style edifice, designed by Isaac Damon. After it was destroyed by fire in 1876, it was replaced by the current church building, built in 1877 and designed by Peabody and Stearns.

The Baptist Church in Northampton was founded in 1822 by Benjamin Willard, an itinerant Baptist missionary. A church building, designed by Isaac Damon, was dedicated on West Street in 1829. Repairs were made to the church after a fire on December 29, 1863. A new church edifice was dedicated in 1904. The First Baptist Church of Northampton merged with the First Church of Christ in 1988

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Second Baptist Church, Holyoke (1885)

The Second Baptist Church of Holyoke was organized in 1849 and the new society’s first place of worship was Gallaudet and Terry’s Hall, at the corner of High and Lyman streets. They soon moved to Chapin Hall, where services were held until 1855, when the vestry of their new brick church was built on Main Street. The church was completed in 1859, but was destroyed in a fire in 1863. The church was rebuilt and rededicated in 1865. Their next church, at the corner of Appleton and Walnut streets, was built in 1885. In 1986, the church moved across the Connecticut River to become the Second Baptist Church of South Hadley. Their former church building in Holyoke is now the Iglesia de Dios MB.

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Old First Baptist Church, Amherst (1835)

The building at 79 South Pleasant Street in Amherst was built in 1834-1835 as the First Baptist Church. The Baptist Society in Amherst began in 1827 as a branch of the New Salem Baptist Church, becoming a branch of the Northampton Baptist Church in 1830. It became an independent organization in 1832. The South Pleasant Street church, designed by Warren S. Howland, was used by the First Baptist Church until 1957, when it moved to a new location at 434 North Pleasant Street. The former church was then used as offices and retail space and was acquired by Amherst College in 2009.

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