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Files & Documents >> Visitor Documents >> Walking Tours (text) >> CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH-7 South Street

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Greek Revival in style, the current building was completed in 1858 after a January 1857 fire destroyed the first church built in 1836. The heat of the conflagration was so great that the new high school that stood where the church parking lot is today was saved only by heaping snow against the walls.
The first church was built for $4,000 at the expense of the Collins Company. Samuel Collins personally contributed another $1,000 for the organ, cushions, carpets, hymn books, and communion service. Collins saw to the building of the church because Congregationalists predominated in the village. In his diary he notes, “I have always discouraged the organization of more than one Church in the Village considering it better to have one that is well sustained than to have several feeble ones.” If most people had been Baptists or Methodists, Collins would have favored them with his largess. 

When the church burned, the Collins Company voted $6,000 for the new church ($4,000 from insurance), Sam Collins donated $1,000, and others in the village gave a total of $2,000. It wasn’t until 1925 that the Collins Company deeded the property to the church. 

Consistent with Collins Company policy, temperance was important in the church’s early years, with resolutions declaring “that the use, manufacture and sale of ardent spirits as drink is an immorality.” Women were allowed a voice in church affairs in 1871. In the 20th century, the chapel of the church was used as an emergency hospital during a flu epidemic. Blood drives are periodically held at the church, and it hosts classical music concerts and other cultural events on occasion.