The Second Congregational Church (now United Congregational Church) of Holyoke was organized in 1849 as the First Congregational Society of Ireland Depot, taking the name of Second Congregational the following year when Holyoke became a town. Its first church, designed by New Haven architect Henry Austin, was erected in 1853 at the northeast corner of High and Dwight streets. A new church, located at 395 High Street, was erected in 1882-1885. It was designed by P. B. Johnson. By 1868 the congregation was the largest Congregational church in New England, and the fifth largest in the country. Attached to the 1885 church is the Skinner Memorial Chapel, designed by Allen and Collens and completed in 1912. A fire in 1919 destroyed the church, but left the bell tower and chapel standing. A new church, matching the architecture of the chapel, was soon built, also designed by Allen and Collens. In 1996 Second Congregational merged with Grace United Church (itself a 1973 merger of Grace Church and First United Congregational Church) to form the United Congregational Church of Holyoke.
The picture above was taken in 2012, four years before the recent move of what was once the French Congregational Church and then the First Spiritualist Church. This spring, the building was moved 600 feet from its original address at 33-37 Bliss Street to a new location closer to Union Street to make way for construction of the new MGM Springfield Casino. The High Victorian Gothic-style church was erected in 1887 through the leadership of Springfield industrialist Daniel B. Wesson to benefit French Canadian Huguenots who were employed by the Smith and Wesson Company. In 1909, the French Protestants gave up the church and Wesson sold it to the Congregational Union. In 1918 the church was acquired by the First Spiritualist Society, formed in 1898, which incorporated in 1919 as the First Spiritualist Church of Springfield. The Church sold the building in 2013 and moved to a new location in Chicopee, where it is now known as the Healing Hands of Light Spiritualist Church.
Pittsfield’s South Congregational Church was formed in 1848 because of the enlarged membership of the First Congregational Church. Work soon began on the new church building at 110 South Street, but in September, 1849 a fire destroyed the partially completed structure. Work started over and the completed church was dedicated on November 13, 1850. The steeple has twice been blown down, in 1859 and in 1882.
When Pittsfield was established in 1761 the community’s first meetinghouse was also erected (the church was organized in 1764). Intended as a temporary structure, it was eventually replaced in 1793 by a new and architecturally significant church building designed by Charles Bulfinch. After that church suffered damage in an 1851 fire it was removed to the Maplewood Young Ladies Institute, where it later served as a gymnasium (it was torn down in 1939). A new First Congregational Church, the third on the site at 27 East Street, was built in 1853. The new church was designed by Leopold Eidlitz and has an 1870 chapel designed by local architect Charles Rathbun and an 1882 Tiffany stained glass memorial window. Today the church is known as First Church on Park Square.
The Florence Congregational Church, at 130 Pine Street in Northampton, was constructed starting in 1861. The village of Florence was developing as an industrial area at the time. Before the church was built, residents had to make the Sunday trip to Northampton to attend church services. The Florence Church had its beginnings in 1857 as a fair weather outdoor Sunday school for the First Church of Northampton. The church has a Stick style Parish House designed by William Fenno Pratt.
At 4 Main Street in Stockbridge is the the First Congregational Church, built in 1824. The church began in 1734 with John Sergeant‘s mission to the Mahican people of the Berkshire Hills. The first church building, erected in 1739, stood where the Chime Tower is today. The second church building, built in 1785, stood at the foot of Old Meeting House Road. The current brick church was restructured in 1865 to accommodate a Johnson Organ.
The fourth meetinghouse of Salem’s First Church was built in 1826 on the same site as its three predecessors (now 121 Washington Street at Essex Street). Originally designed by Solomon Willard and Peter Banner of Boston, retail stores were on the ground floor with the church using the spaces above. The building was significantly altered in the Victorian Gothic style and much enlarged around 1874. When First Church merged with North Church in 1923, the former church was acquired by Daniel Low & Company, a company that sold fine gifts and jewelry. The store was in business from 1874 to 1995.