First Church Roxbury - Boston, MA
Posted by: NorStar
N 42° 19.799 W 071° 05.466
19T E 327714 N 4688532
Quick Description: The building here, built in 1804, is the fifth meetinghouse on this spot, and among the earliest ministers of the congregation occupying these meetinghouses was Rev. John Eliot, often referred to as "Apostle to the Indians."
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 12/22/2012 7:58:39 AM
Waymark Code: WMFZAN
In the Roxbury section of Boston, on a hill at Eliot Square, is the First Church in Roxbury.
The church is located at a plot of land bounded by Roxbury, Dudley, and Putnam Streets. Roxbury Street intersects Malcom X. Blvd at the base of the hill.
The church is a wooden structure in the typical Federalist style of the time this structure was built. The sides are white painted clapboard with black shutters. There are two rows of windows. At the front are three doors a the top of a few steps. The peaked roof is shingled. The belfry stands above the front entrance and has a clock face on all sides. Above the clock are three successively smaller structures, topped by a weathervane.
The meetinghouse currently is the fifth one standing on this hill. The first was built in 1637 and lasted until 1674. This one was built in 1804, replacing the previous one built in 1746. It was designed by William Blaney, architect, who also was a church member.
There have been some repairs and changes since the original builing of the church. The steeple was replaced in 1954 after a hurricane (probably Carol) blew the previous one down. The bell in the church belfry was purchased in 1819 from Paul Revere's foundry in Canton. Putnam Chapel was built next to the church in 1878. In 2003 the UU Urban Ministry built the Education and Justice Center that connected the main building with the Putnam Chapel and moved from downtown Boston to this location.
The current congregation is a Unitarian Universalist Church. This congregation is the descendant of the original Puritan congregation that occupied this location in 1637. Among the early ministers was Reverend John Eliot, who devoted his life to not only preaching to this congregation, but also establishing "Praying Indian Towns" throughout eastern and central New England, the oldest and most successful of which was the Natick establishment. He also established a school in Roxbury that was open to education of African American and Native American children that is today the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts.
I do not see a service listed on the Unitarian Urban Ministry web site, and I haven't found a web site for any congregation at this location. Thus, though still used for religious purposes, it does not appear to have local worshipping congregation. The Urban Ministry, however, does have several programs to help the most needy people of the Boston vicinity. Over 30 member churches from around Boston support the urban ministry. Please see the web site for specific information.
Wikipedia (John Eliot):
Web Site for Eliot School for Fine and Applied Arts:
Historical Sign - Bostonian Society
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