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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Grace Community Church, Marblehead (1868)

Grace Community Church, on Pleasant Street in Marblehead, was originally called the First Baptist Church and was built in 1868. It replaced a predeccesor on the same site, dedicated in 1832, which burned down in 1867. The First Baptist Church in Marblehead was organized in 1810 and their first house of worship was Rock Meeting House on Watson Street.

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African Meeting House, Boston (1806)

The African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in Boston was built in 1806 to house the first African Baptist Church of Boston, known as the First Independent Baptist Church. A commemorative inscription above the front door reads, “Cato Gardner, first Promoter of this Building 1806.” Cato Gardner, born in Africa, raised more than $1,500 toward the total $7,700 needed to construct the Meeting House. The building, which was constructed almost entirely with black labor, served as the cultural, educational and political center of Boston’s black community for many decades. In 1808, Primus Hall‘s school relocated from the adjacent carpenter’s shop to the Meeting House, using a schoolroom funded by Abiel Smith. It later moved to the Abiel Smith School next door. William Lloyd Garrison held the founding meeting of the New England Anti-Slavery Society in the Meeting House on January 6, 1832. The building, which has a facade adapted from the design for a townhouse published by Boston architect Asher Benjamin, was remodeled in the 1850s, with the windows being elongated and converted to having arched tops.

The Baptist congregation moved to Boston’s South End in 1898 and the Meeting House became the African Methodist Episcopal Church. By the late nineteenth century, many African Americans had moved to other neighborhoods and new immigrants occupied the neighborhood around the African Meeting House, which was sold in 1904 to the Hassidic Jewish Congregation Anshe Lebawitz. In 1972, the building was acquired by the Museum of African American History. The first phase of restoration work on the Meeting House was completed in 1987 and the building was opened to the public as a museum. The African Meeting House, the oldest surviving black church building in America, is also the last stop on the Black Heritage Trail.

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Tremont Temple (1896)

The original Tremont Theatre, on Tremont Street in Boston, was designed in the Greek Revival style by architect Isaiah Rogers and opened in 1827. Many famous actors, orators and singers appeared there over the years. In 1843, the building was purchased by the Free Church Baptists, Boston’s first integrated church, who renamed it the Tremont Temple Baptist Church. Thereafter, it was used as a church, although public events were often held there as well. The church burned and was rebuilt several times. The current building on the site was built in 1896, designed by Clarence Blackall. The church has a large sanctuary on the second floor, which was also used for a time as an auditorium. Originally, there were shops on the ground floor and commercial offices on the upper floors. Revenue from rents and auditorium rentals allowed the Church to provide free seats to all worshipers.

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