Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2009 Preservation Award Winners
First Churches Meetinghouse • Northampton
First Churches Meetinghouse - Northampton

Rehabilitation & Restoration

The First Churches Meetinghouse, constructed in 1878, was the fifth meeting
house built in Northampton by the First Parish Church. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Northampton Downtown Historic District, and the meetinghouse is a prominent architectural landmark in the downtown area. Since 1988, the church has served two congregations: the First Church of Christ and the First Baptist Church, together known as the “First Churches.” The meetinghouse has historically served as a building open for use by all, and the current congregations strive to maintain this original mission.

In March of 2007, the meetinghouse was forced to close when ongoing water infiltration caused large sections of plaster to fall from the sanctuary ceiling. The resulting project sought to repair and restore fully both the interior and the exterior of the church, and all aspects of the project utilized architects Peabody and Stearns’ original blueprints. The sanctuary ceiling was replaced, stained-glass windows restored, and the slate roof repaired. A particularly remarkable aspect of the project involved the meetinghouse’s organ, which had to be disassembled as part of the rehabilitation of the building. The organ itself was then carefully restored prior to its reassembly. Throughout its history, the First Churches Meetinghouse has served as a location for both worship and community gathering, and now, as the result of this impressive project, it will continue to play this important role in Northampton.

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