Tag Archives: Baptist

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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Former First Baptist Church of Northampton (1904)

In 1822, Benjamin Willard, an itinerant Baptist missionary, began preaching in Northampton. He soon organized a Baptist church, which was formally recognized by the Baptist Association Church Council in 1826. A church building was constructed by builder Isaac Damon on West Street in 1828-1829. A fire on December 29, 1863 damaged the building, and services were held in Northampton Town Hall for a year and a half while repairs were made. A new church, at the corner of Main and West Streets, was completed in May 1904 and dedicated May 22, 1904. In 1988, the First Baptist Church of Northampton joined the First Congregational Church to form the First Churches of Northampton, with worship continuing at the Congregational meeting house. In 1993, the former Baptist Church building was sold to Eric Suher of Holyoke. Restoration of the long vacant building has proceeded slowly, but Suher is continuing with plans to convert it into a conference and banqueting facility.

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Center Meetinghouse, Old Sturbridge Village (1832)

The Baptist Church in Sturbridge was organized about 1750 and early on met in a school house, enlarged and converted into a house of worship. A new meetinghouse was erected in 1784. These first two structures were located on Fiske Hill. As described in An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Mass. (1838), by Joseph S. Clark, by 1832:

Their first Meetinghouse, by this time was going to decay; and as it stood at an inconvenient distance from many of the Society, in 1832 they erected a new and far more commodious one, in the centre village, on a corner of the old Burying-ground. It was dedicated Jan. 8, 1833, [...] The Baptist Society have just completed [1838] the removal of their Meetinghouse to Fiskdale village, about 2 miles from its former location. As this arrangement brings the Sanctuary to the doors of many who have hitherto found it inconvenient to attend Church statedly it is presumed that they will hereafter avail themselves of that privilege.

As mentioned in the 1844 book, History of the Baptist Churches Composing the Sturbridge Association,

During the present year, (1842,) the house, having been struck with lightning, and injured to a considerable extent, has undergone a thorough repair, at an expense of about $300.

In 1947, when the Sturbridge Baptist Society was joining with another denomination, it agreed to give the meetinghouse to Old Sturbridge Village in exchange for an organ in their new church. The 1832 structure was then moved to the Village, where it is referred to as the Center Meetinghouse.

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