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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Huebener Brick no. 51 First Parish Church, Meeting House Hill
Huebener Brick no. 51 First Parish Church
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 The First Parish Church has been located on Meeting House Hill since 1670.

The Edward A. Huebener collection of over 100 bricks originally collected by Mr. Huebener exhibits brick paintings of the houses from which the bricks came. The bricks have upon them painted scenes of (mostly) old Dorchester houses and landmarks. To see a list of all the bricks, choose the term Architecture in the list at the left of the screen and choose the first subsection -- the Edward A. Huebener Brick Collection and scroll to the bottom of that page to see icons for all the bricks.

Map Detail 1899 Lyceum Hall
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 The First Parish Church (Unitarian), Meeting-House Hill, Dorchester district, is the oldest religious society in Boston. It was organized in Plymouth, England, March 20, 1630, the eve before the embarkation of the first settlers of Dorchester in the Mary and John.

The Rev. John White of Dorchester, England, was the chief advocate of a settlement in Massachusetts to find a new home in which greater freedom could be secured for worship and the exercise of religion within the Established Church of England. The ship Mary and John carried with the colonists, John Maverick and John Warham as pastors of their church, which was transferred to America through the sailing of all its members.

The ?trading men? settled at Rock Hill (Savin Hill) on which they built a fort. The farmers settled on Allen?s Plain near the intersection of Pond, Cottage and Pleasant Streets and built their first meeting house, about twelve feet high, constructed of logs with a thatched roof, surrounded with palisades (at approximately the location of Town Meeting Square). Military stores were deposited in it and guns mounted on it from fear of the Indians. The same building was used as a town house and school house. In the early years, the business affairs of the town were largely in the hands of the ministers. The meeting house was the place of public assembly.

Part of the Church membership moved to Windsor, Conn., in 1635 with the Rev. John Warham. John Maverick died in 1636 and was succeeded by Rev. Richard Mather. The first building was replaced by a new one in 1645 at the same location. This meeting house was moved by oxen to Meeting-House Hill, on the east side of Winter Street, in 1670.

First Parish Church
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 In 1669 the town had voted to build a house for the ministry of the Church ?to be such a house as James Blak?s house is, namely, 38 foote in length and 20 foote wid and 14 foote betweene joynts gert worke.? The James Blake house still exists but the parsonage has been lost to history. In 1678 a new larger meeting house was built on the northwest corner of Church and Winter Streets. It was square in shape, two stories high, with a tower in the center containing a bell.

In 1743 a new meeting-house was built on what is now the Town Common. The eastern entrance was about where the Soldier?s Monument now stands. The building was 68 feet long, 46 feet wide, 104 feet to the top of the weathervane. Deacon Edward Pierce enlarged this church in 1795 by dividing it along the ridge, moving one-half of it 14 feet, and building new material to unite the halves. A new house was built in 1816. It burned in 1896, and again a new church was built in 1897, the one that still exists in 2002. It was designed by Cabot, Everett and Mead with references to Colonial models. It is one of the finest eamples of the Christopher Wren type in this country. This latest building is the one on the map labeled First Universalist Church.

The painting on the brick represents the church building that was built in 1816 and burned in 1896.

First Church
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 Photograph of the First Church, Dorchester, Mass. published in A Memorial of the Rev. Nathaniel Hall ... Boston, 1876.

First Parish Church
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 Photograph in the collection of the Dorchester Historical Society.

Modern appearance
First Parish Church
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 Postcard dated 1975, privately owned, showing the current church building and its similarity to the building it replaced.


Chaffee, John R. The History of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1917. See p. 10-12 for material on the First Church.

King?s Hand-Book of Boston. Boston: Moses King Corporation, 1889. 9th ed.

Orcutt, William Dana. Good Old Dorchester: A Narrative History of the Town, 1630-1893. Cambridge: The University Press, 1908.

Stark, James H., comp. Places in Dorchester to visit during Old-Home Week, July 28 to August 3, 1907. Dorchester, The Dorchester Historical Society, 1907.

Religious Properties Preservation: A Boston Casebook. Boston: Historic Boston Incorporated, 1991.

Related Images: showing 8 of 50 (more results)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 50 images.
View from Mt. IdaFirst Parish ChurchFirst Church, DorchesterMap detail 1850 Meeting House HIll
Mather SchoolFire Station on Meeting House Hill Delivering Windows to First Parish Church5 Adams Street
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Created: July 3, 2008   Modified: April 16, 2011