Tag Archives: Congregational

Former First Church/Daniel Low Building (1826)

Former Church, Salem

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.

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Harvard Evangelical Congregational Church (1821)

Harvard Evangelical Congregational Church

In 1821, part of the membership of Harvard’s First Church who objected to the town’s granting use of the meeting house to the Unitarian Society split off to form their own separate congregation, the Calvinistic Congregational Society. As related in History of the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1732-1893 (1894) by Henry S. Nourse:

This formal withdrawal left the meeting-house and church furniture in legal possession of those refusing Calvinistic doctrines, and the records, though detained for a time by the clerk, Reuben Whitcomb, a leader in the new society, were soon surrendered to them. April 16, 1821, it was voted to apply to the town tor a piece of the common whereupon to build a meeting-house, and a committee was instructed to present a plan.

April 29 the town gave the ground now in possession of the society, agreeing to remove the pound and hearse-house, then standing upon it. A building forty-four feet by fifty was agreed upon, its cost being divided into one hundred shares of twenty-five dollars each.

Nourse describes later additions to the church:

In August, 1827, a subscription, headed by Seth Nason with a gift of one hundred dollars, was raised to add a cupola to the front of the meeting-house and provide a bell. The sum of $903.50 was obtained, and the addition was made, including an increase in the number of pews. In 1836 a new pulpit was built by a few individuals of the society.

[. . .] March 12, 1855, the society changed its name to “The Evangelical Congregational Society.” In 1858 the gallery pews in the meeting-house were fitted for more convenient use, and two years later the building of a “piazza” brought the church into temporary debt.

The building, at 5 Still River Road, continues to be the home of the Congregational Church of Harvard.

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Congregational Church of Interlaken (1827)

Congregational Church of Interlaken

In 1824 plans were made to build a new meeting house by the Stockbridge Congregational Church. The location of the building was a point of contention between members of the congregation. Although it was eventually built near the site of the community’s first meeting house, church members living in the north section of town, known as Curtisville (named for the mill complex erected by Stephen Curtis), felt that the distance was too far to travel. In 1825, after much debate, it was decided to let a new Congregational Society be formed in Curtisville. The North Congregational Society met in the Red School House on Larrywaug Crossroads until its own church, also on Larrywaug Crossroad, was dedicated on January 10, 1827. The building was used until 1834 when it was taken down and and rebuilt at its present site at 6 Willard Hill Road. Curtisville later became known as Interlaken and the church as the Congregational Church of Interlaken A brick edifice, it was in use as a church until 2002, when declining membership led to the congregation’s sale of the building. It was converted into the second home of a New York architect.

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First Congregational Church of Boylston (1927)

First Congregational Church of Boylston

The origins of the First Congregational Church of Boylston go back to 1742, when the North Precinct in Shrewsbury (now Boylston) was incorporated. The congregation’s first meeting house was built near the site of the present Old Cemetery. When the time came to build a new meeting house (constructed in 1793), there was a protracted controversy over where in town it should be located. After the decision was finally made to build the Church on the site of the present Sawyer Memorial Library, residents in the western side of town, who had wanted the church built closer to their homes, began the process which eventually led to the incorporation of West Boylston as a separate town. The third meeting house was built in the Greek Revival style in 1835. After it burned in 1924 it was replaced, on the same site, by the current church, completed in a similar style in 1927. The original bell of the third meeting house is used in the present building.

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First Congregational Church of Adams (1868)

First Congregational Church, Adams

The First Congregational Church of Adams, at 42 Park Street in Adams, is a wood-frame church built in 1868. At some point, the church lost its original tall steeple, which was replaced with the current shortened one. Just to the south are the parish house and parsonage, built in 1895.

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St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (1869)

St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Springfield

In 1865, a society was formed to establish a new Congregational church in the the north section of Springfield. The cornerstone for the new Memorial Congregational Church was laid on July 18, 1867. The church, constructed on a knoll at Plainfield and North Main Streets (an area now called Memorial Square), was designed by Richard Upjohn. The granite used for the building was the gift of Mr. William Flint of Monson. The church was dedicated on June 3, 1869. In 1940, Memorial Congregational Church merged with Hope Congregational Church (Hope Church merged with Faith Congregational Church in 1977). The former Memorial Congregational Church building was sold to the Hellenic Religious Building Fund Corporation to become St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church. A brick house on Auburn Street had become the church’s first building in 1907. The church moved to Patton Street in 1919. In 1977, one-third of the church community left to form the new St. Luke parish in East Longmeadow. St. George Church then became known as St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

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United Congregational Church, Worcester (1885)

Dissatisfaction over the choice of minister at the Old South Church in Worcester in 1820 led Daniel Waldo (1763-1845) to organize a new parish, originally called the Calvinist Church. The name was officially changed to Central Church in 1879. Waldo paid for the construction of the congregation’s first meetinghouse in 1823-1825. Located on Main Street, near George Street, it was later replaced by the current church, built in 1884-1885 at the corner of Salisbury Street and Institute Road. The Romanesque Revival-style Central Church, built of Longmeadow brownstone, was designed by Stephen C. Earle. When the studio of John LaFarge proved too busy to design the interiors, the church commissioned Sarah Lyman Whitman, a former student of William Morris Hunt. Central Church merged with Chestnut Street Congregational Church in 1982 to form United Congregational Church.

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