Greenwood Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church

No. 1707 Greenwood Memorial Methodist Church, photograph February, 2002.


The Greenwood Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church was organized March 8, 1869, and is now located at 380 Washington Street.

Artemus Greenwood and his wife Sarah, members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, lived near the present Harvard Street, where they owned a large farm. Mr. Greenwood died in 1863 and his wife in 1866. The son, Charles H. Greenwood, developed his farm into a thickly-settled district of homes by profitable real estate transactions. His will contained a gift to the Boston Highland Methodist Episcopal Church of $5,000 outright and $10,000 on condition that the name be changed to the “Sarah Greenwood Memorial,” Methodist Episcopal Church. Sarah Baker and Sarah Greenwood had been close friends, and Miss Baker’s bequest for Baker Memorial prompted Mr. Greenwood to provide for the Memorial in honor of his mother.

The first movement to found a Methodist Episcopal Church in the Mt. Bowdoin section of Dorchester waas started in the winter of 1893 by Rev. E. J. Helms. Services were held on Sunday evenings in Friendship Hall at Cracker Hollow under the care of Rev. C. E. Chandler and later under the direction of Rev. C.S. Rogers, pastor of the Baker Memorial Church. Friendship Hall with its historic Davenport House was set back on a curved drive from Bowdoin Street, between the corner of Geneva Avenue and Blakeville Street. It was started in 1844 and dedicated January 22, 1845 by Norfolk Lodge No. 48, I.O.O.F, which met there for fifty years. About 1915 the old structure was torn down to make room for the present [1936] garage.

In February, 1895, the Mt. Bowdoin group rented the new Norfolk Hall, built in 1894 until they should be strong enough to erect a church. Rev. E.S.J. McAllister was appointed pastor May 1, 1895. On November 1st the organization of a Methodist Episcopal Church was effected, and at the next quarterly conference held Feb. 4, 1896, the society received the name Mt. Bowdoin Methodist Episcopal Church. When McAllister resigned in June 1896, Rev. J.W. Stephan became the pastor. Rev. Charles Tilton became pastor of the Mt. Bowdoin Church and of the The Highlands Methodist Episcopal in April 1898 and was reappointed in 1899. The Highlands Methodist Episcopal Church Society continued to meet in it old Warren Street, Roxbury, property which it had sold.

As constituted in 1900 the Highlands Methodist Episcopal Church represented the original Boston Highlands Methodist Episcopal Church and the Mt. Bowdoin Methodist Episcopal Church of Dorchester, combined. A small group from an Independent Grove Hall Church, Washington Street, corner Blue Hill Avenue, Rev. Edward D. Mallory, pastor joined with the new organization. They purchased a lot fronting on Washington Street in 1898 from the trustee of the Tileston Estate. Rev. Meredith, appointed April 10, 1900, held services in Norfolk Hall until March 31, 1901.

Ground was broken in 1900 for the new church whose architect was Walter J. Paine and John A. Dodge the builder. The name remained the Highlands Methodist until the death of Charles H. Greenwood on April 8, 1913. By action of the Quarterly Conference, September 23, 1913, the name of the church was officially changed to Greenwood Memorial Church.

Norfolk Hall:

E.S.J. McAllister, 1895-1896
J.W. Stephan, 1896-1898
Charles Tilton, 1898-1900
William H. Meredith, 1900-1901

Present Building:

William H. Meredith, 1901-1902
George Alcott Phinney, 1902-1908
Charles E. Davis and Alfred A. Wright, 1908-1909
Marshall B. Lytle, 1909-1912
Charles Edward Spaulding, 1912-1917
George Hazelton Spencer, 1917-1919
Robert M. Pierce, 1919-1925
Everett L. Farnsworth, 1925 through at least 1936

For more information, consult:

Berry, Lawrence F. Greenwood Memorial Church (Methodist Episcopal), Dorchester, Massachusetts: Its Ancestry and Growth with the Neighborhood. (Dorchester: The Author, 1936)

Chaffee, John R. The History of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts. (Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1917)

Dorchester Old and New, 1630-1930. (Dorchester: Chapple Publishing Company for the Dorchester, Massachusetts, Tercentenary Committee, 1930)

Reader’s Comment December 2007 From: Elsie Osterberg

I was reminiscing about the happy days of growing up in this church. We attended this church from the time I was very small.I was married there in 1954 The church was newly painted and beautiful. I have often told the story of the minister whose sermon was quite long. He apologized for the long sermon. He said he would put a piece of candy in his mouth and when it was gone it was time to end the sermon but in error put a button in his mouth. Children remember strange things. It made for a few laughs. I do not live very close but some day I would like to visi


Posted on

April 15, 2020