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Methodist Churches in Boston Since 1792
This is a preliminary attempt to identify and provide a brief history for all congregations of the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist, and United Methodist denominations in Boston.
A note on dates: various sources report different dates for the start of a church. The date may be: 1) first preaching, 2) first class, 3) organized society, 4) conference appointment, 5) building dedication, or 6) start of a new name. Churches are listed under each specific name, with links to earlier or later names. Dates of name changes are sometimes unclear, as most are reported after the fact and sometimes the popular usage of the older names continues, making any attempt at dating a name change purely academic. Some mission churches appear in conference appointments lists, often only once or twice with no further information on that congregation.
Links are provided to Church records, if we have any. These records normally contain membership, baptism and marriage records along with church board, quarterly conference records and occasionally other records of the church, although the actual content of any record set may vary. For many other churches, historical files are kept with miscellaneous materials, often histories or clippings about the church, but no significant records.
Started in 1871, organized 1872. The church was slow in building, a vestry opened in 1877 and the audience room in 1882. Allston became a dual appointment with Oak Square in 1968. In 1977, Allston was closed, merging with Oak Square to form Community.
The Neponset church changed its name to Appleton in 1871, in honor of Mrs. Mary Appleton, who held the mortgage on the church. She cancelled the mortgage just before her death. In 1915, the church is listed as Neponset (Appleton), and from 1917 on, just as Neponset.
Named for Sarah Baker of Savin Hill, who left money upon her death for a church near her home to be built after twenty years of investments. In 1888, the Howard Avenue church in Roxbury was closed and began meeting at Upham’s Corner, and the church was opened in 1891 at Hancock Street and Cushing Avenue, within nineteen feet of the three-quarter mile limit specified in the will. By 1940, the city had condemned the tower. In 1940, this was a joint appointment with a new Howard Avenue church that had just joined the conference. The church was closed in 1943.
Classes began in 1857 on Poplar Street, then the Association Hall on South Street, West Roxbury, later called Roslindale. The first supply pastor came in 1868. Variously called Central or Roslindale, the church at Ashland (Cummins Highway) and Sheldon Street was built in 1874, re-named Bethany in 1893. Destroyed by fire in 1940, and rebuilt in 1942, it absorbed Upham Memorial (a church it helped create) in 1969.
Blossom Street (Boston, North End : 1837-1838)
First listed in 1837 under Moses Scudder, but lasted only two years.
The first society in Boston built and ran two churches, Methodist Alley (which moved to North Bennett Street) and Bromfield Street. They were listed separately from 1831 to 1835, with Boston North referring to North Bennett Street.
The first society in Boston built and ran two churches, Methodist Alley (which moved to North Bennett Street) and Bromfield Street. They were listed separately from 1831 to 1835, with Boston North referring to Bromfield Street.
Began in 1806 as a mission of Methodist Alley, constructing the church the same year, but was considered one congregation with two churches. It became independent in 1831, and was listed as Boston South until 1835, when it was finally recognized by its own name. The church was remodeled in 1848, suffered a fire and was rebuilt in 1864, and substantially repaired in 1895. When the successor of Methodist Alley began using the name “First” in 1870, Bromfield took the corporate name of Methodist Religious Society in Boston. The building was closed in 1913, when the congregation merged with Tremont Street to form Bromfield-Tremont.
Canton Street (Boston, South End : 1846 )
The old Morgan Chapel became Morgan Memorial under Edgar J. Helms, dedicating a new gothic church in 1917. Because of the many ethnic groups that met at the church, it was also known as The Church of All Nations beginning in 1917. The church was seized by eminent domain for the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension and demolished in the 1963. The congregation met in temporary quarters on Arlington Street until the new church was constructed in 1975. Helms created Goodwill Industries, now an international organization, as a mission of this church.
Beginning around 1835 near the Public Garden, this was sometimes referred to as Third Methodist Episcopal Church. When the congregation was served by Rev. John W. Hamilton in 1876, it developed into the People’s Temple, opening the new church in 1884.
Started when classes from Broadway wanted to meet in City Point area around 1873, but organized in 1878, meeting at Emerson and L Streets. Official conference recognition came only in 1883, with a church at Fifth and L Street. In 1918, it merged with St. John’s to form Wesley.
Fifth home of the first congregation (Methodist Alley), Copley was created in 1922 by a merger of People’s Temple and Bromfield-Tremont, called United until moving in 1925 to Edward Everett Hale’s Second Congregational Church Building at Newbury and Exeter Streets. From 1927 to 1947, Copley and Tremont were listed separately under the general name, Methodist Religious Society in Boston. In 1962, First Church on Temple Street merged with Copley to form First-Copley.
When the Wesley Memorial Church paid off its mortgage in 1911, partly through Conference fund given in 1907 in honor of recently deceased Daniel Dorchester, who had been present at the founding of the church, the name was changed to Dorchester Memorial. On the last day of 1911, the building suffered a major fire, but was re-built. In 1944, the church returned to the name West Roxbury.
Organized in 1816, and opened in 1818, moved to a larger building in 1829, and enlarged in 1844, a new church was built in 1875 on Washington Street. Not to be confused with the Dorchester Street church of South Boston. In 1965, First merged with Stanton Avenue and Parkman Street to form Wesley (Dorchester).
Dorchester, Second Church.
Not to be confused with the Dorchester First Church. Founded in 1860 at Dorchester and Silver Street, as an alternative to enlarging Centenary. In 1886, it merged with Broadway to form St. John’s (South Boston).
Organized in 1872 by the Boston City Missionary and Church Extension Society, and dedicated a church at the corner of Washington and Beethoven Streets in 1873. Coming of the elevated trains forced the sale of the church in 1911, and a move to Walnut Park.
The North Russell Street Church purchased the old Grace Episcopal Church on Temple Street in 1865, calling itself Temple Street or Grace. In 1873, it merged with Hanover Street, and took the name First Methodist (officially). The church was variously referred to as First, Grace, or Temple Street, sometimes all at once! Temple Street was occupied until 1962, when it merged with Copley to form First-Copley.
Organized in 1859 by G.F. Cox, the church building was dedicated in 1870. In 1958, it became a two-point charge with St. Andrew’s, the closing and merging with St. Andrew’s in 1960.
The Williams Street congregation moved in 1852 to the former Dudley Street Baptist Church at Warren and Cliff Streets. The church was destroyed by fire on March 28, 1868. The church was rebuilt on Winthrop Street.
In 1935, the Winthrop Street church returned to the name First (Roxbury). The church was discontinued in 1939. The church was sold to the city (some time before the closing) and the congregation was worshipping in various places. Parsonage was given to Fourth Church.
Successor to Methodist Alley, Bromfield, Tremont Street and People’s Temple, the Copley church merged in 1962 with the First (Boston)-Temple Street-Grace congregaton to form First-Copley. The church was closed in 1964 when the congregation moved to Old West. Also known as the Methodist Religious Society in Boston.
Began as the Italian Mission around 1895 under Gaetano Conte and meeting on Hanover Street in the North End, the First Italian Methodist Episcopal Church (Prima Chiesa Metodista Episcopale Italiana) and North End Mission was established on North Street in 1911. In 1948, Armand Donaruma was appointed pastor of both the First Italian North End Mission and the Italian Methodist Church of Our Saviour in South Boston, and shortly thereafter the North End church was closed, leaving only the South Boston Italian Church.
Beginning as early as 1810, with several failed starts, the third try founded the church in 1834. Moved and changed its name to D Street in 1839.
The South End Swedish mission church purchased the Walnut Park church in 1913 and re-located to Roxbury. A member of the Eastern Swedish Conference, it became part of the New England Conference in 1942, and changed its name in 1942 to Walnut Avenue.
Foreigner’s Mission (Boston : 1849)
Founded in 1895, the church changed its name in 1900 to Upham Memorial.
The Revere Street congregation met in various locations until the Missionary Society purchased for them the old Swedish Baptist Church at 72 Shawmut Avenue near the corner of Sterling Street in 1911. The congregation then took the name Fourth Methodist. The congregation started construction on a new church in 1928, and in 1929 moved to 711 Shawmut Avenue, meeting “underground, in a roofed-over basement.” It was expanded several times for social services, though a church proper was never built. In 1949, the congregation itself purchased Union Congregational at Columbus and West Rutland, and became Union (Boston).
Organized in 1852 at 777 Shawmut Avenue in the building of the Williams Street (later changed to Shawmut) congregation that moved to become First (Roxbury). The church joined the Eastern German Conference in 1868, and eventually moved to Amory Street as St. Paul’s. In 1938, re-joined the New England Conference.
Grace (Temple Street or First) (Boston, Beacon Hill: 1865-1962)
See First (Boston).
Third home of the first congregation (Methodist Alley), which moved from North Bennett Street in 1849 when they purchased the old “Cockerel Church” (for its weathervane) on Hanover Street. In 1869, with the widening of Hanover Street, the front part of the church was demolished. In 1873, the church merged with Temple Street (Grace), and moved to Temple Street, taking the name First (Boston). Hanover Street remained open as a mission.
Continuing congregation at the re-constructed Hanover Street church after its merger with Temple Street to form First..
Beginning as a mission in 1870, the church was organized in 1874. In 1877, land was bought on Parkman Street, and the church dedicated in 1878 as Parkman Street.
Began in 1992 as a mission project of Wesley (Dorchester).
The Suffolk Street church was renamed in 1852 in honor of Bp. Elijah Hedding. In 1858, as the Eighth Methodist Society, they began planning a new church at Tremont and West Concord. Started in 1860 and dedicated in 1862, this became Tremont Street Methodist Episcopal Church.
Founded in 1816, relocated and renamed in 1863 as Trinity.
Some of the congregation of First (Roxbury), which moved to Winthrop Street, withdrew and organized a church in Dudley Hall on Warren Street in 1869, and dedicated in 1870, known as Highlands. From 1895-1898 they met in Norfolk Hall on Washington Street near Bowdoin, and for a time was called Mount Bowdoin. In 1898, they purchased a lot at Washington and Dakota, opening the new church in 1901. In 1900, it absorbed the Mount Bowdoin church of Dorchester and a small independent “Grove Hall Church.”. Re-named Greenwood Memorial in 1913, in memory of Sarah Greenwood, mother of Charles Henry Greenwood.
Howard Avenue joined the conference in 1940 from the Eastern Swedish Conference, and became a joint appointment with Baker Memorial. This church was absorbed by Greenwood Memorial in the 1953.
Hyde Park (Boston, Hyde Park : 1867-1956)
There was religious activity as early as 1857, but a formal Methodist church was organized in 1867, with a church dedicated in 1874. It is sometimes referred to as First. The church suffered major damage in the hurricane of 1938. In 1955, the roof trusses were giving way and the building was condemned. The congregation met at the Presbyterian church until it voted to be discontinued in 1956, at which time the parsonage was sold to the Presbyterians. Proceeds from church property was turned over to Christ Church, Wellesley.
A department of the Wesley (South Boston) church, it became a distinct congregation during the pastorate of Nicola Notar (1931-1944), though meeting at Wesley. When Wesley merged with Barham Memorial in 1951, the building was left to the Italian Church. In 1963, the Italian Methodist merged with the United Methodist Church of South Boston to form the Church of Our Saviour.
Began around 1895 under Gaetano Conte and meeting on Hanover Street in the North End, the First Italian Methodist Episcopal Church (Prima Chiesa Metodista Episcopale Italiana) and North End Mission was established on North Street in 1911.
Madison Square (Boston : 1875)
Mariners’ Bethel (Boston, North End : 1829-open)
Located in North Square, this ministry begun by Father Taylor was an ecumenical project, strongly funded by non-Methodist sources. In 1895, the position is listed as Chaplain to the Boston Port and Seaman’s Aid Society, held for 46 years by George L. Small. Following his death in 1931, this was no longer a conference appointment, but Mariners’ Bethel is still open.
Mattapan (Boston, Dorchester : 1874-1926)
Organized in 1874 on Norfolk Street, but with classes beginning in 1870. A church constructed by the Episcopalians in 1871 was used, and purchased by the Methodists in 1875. Episcopalians again met in the building sporadically from 1879-1883, but plans for a Union congregation were shelved, the Methodist society re-organizing itself in 1884. In 1926, Mattapan moved to Milton Parkway and eventually built the Parkway (Milton) church.
Bromfield Street church had a number of black members from Beacon Hill, and hired a lay pastor, Samuel Snowden, in 1818, specifically for them. In 1823, they opened a house of worship for the blacks on May Street as a mission. The congregation outgrew the building, and Bromfield built another, larger church for them on the next lot. In 1860, the street changed name to Revere Street. In 1838, seventeen members withdrew and formed an AME Zion Church, which met in the Beacon Hill area until 1866, when it purchased the North Russell Street MEC, where it remained until 1903, when it purchased Temple Adath Israel and became Columbus Avenue AME Zion Church.
Father Taylor preached in East Boston in 1840, and a society was organized in 1842. Soon after, a church was built at Meridian and Paris, but within four years the congregation moved to the corner of Meridian and Decatur Streets. It became a Bethel mission in 1880 to become known as Meridian Street Bethel.
The first congregation in Boston, organized in 1792. The first building in Methodist Alley off Hanover Street was dedicated in 1796 and occupied until 1828, when the congregation moved to North Bennett Street. This was the Boston appointment until 1831, including Bromfield Street, which was a subsidiary church until 1831.
The formal name of the first church in Boston, Methodist Alley, but shared with Bromfield Street. When Hanover Street, the successor to Methodist Alley, merged with Temple Street and took the name First, this name stayed with Bromfield and was used by Bromfield and its successors. The Bromfield-Tremont merger of 1913 was followed by a merger with People’s Temple in 1922. The intention to create one church with the purchase of Copley was partially thwarted by Tremont Street staying open until 1971. The Methodist Religious Society in Boston was used by Copley (Bromfield-People’s Temple) and Tremont from 1927 to 1947.
Monroe Memorial (Boston, Charlestown : 1878-1882)
Organized as a mission church in 1878, it met only in rented halls, and was closed in 1882.
Organized in 1847 as the second church in Charlestown, at High Street, the name was changed in 1874 to Monument Square. Located at the corner of Monument Square and High Street, the building was dedicated in 1849, and enlarged in 1868. It closed in 1899, members going to Trinity.
Organized in 1869 at Shawmut Avenue and Corning Street, in a building purchased from Church of the Disciples of the Rev. James Freeman Clarke. Renamed as Morgan Memorial beginning in 1903.
The old Morgan Chapel became Morgan Memorial in 1903, dedicating a new gothic church in 1917. Because of the many ethnic groups that met at the church, it also became known as The Church of All Nations beginning in 1917. The church was seized by eminent domain for the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension and demolished in the 1963. The congregation met in temporary quarters on Arlington Street until the new church was constructed in 1975. Helms created Goodwill Industries, now an international organization, as a mission of this church.
Founded at the corner of Dudley Street and North Avenue, this congregation moved in 1876 to Howard Avenue.
Neponset, Second Church of Dorchester (Boston, Dorchester : 1850-1858, 1860- 1871)
First preaching in 1848, dedicated in 1850 at Walnut and Oakman. The congregation faltered around 1858 with internal conflict ending with the Unitarians buying all the pews and taking over the church. Methodist members opened a new church on Walnut Street in 1860. In 1871, this church was re-named Appleton.
The Appleton Church was re-listed as Neponset beginning in 1917. The church was condemned in 1937, and sold. The congregation was federated, and dropped from Methodist roles in 1941.
Second home of the first congregation (Methodist Alley), constructed in 1828 and occupied until 1849, when the congregation moved to Hanover Street. Beginning in 1831 with the independence of Bromfield Street, it was listed as Boston North. In 1841 the Richmond Street church was founded by North Bennett members, but it closed and merged back with the 1849 move to Hanover Street.
Founded in 1837 as the second church in the North End, the congregation moved in 1865 to Temple Street and the old Grace Episcopal Church. The church was sold to the AME Zion Church of Boston, founded in 1838 by seventeen members of the May Street (Revere Street) MEC. They occupied the building until 1903 when they moved to Columbus Ave., purchasing the Temple Adath Israel.
Norwegian-Danish Church (Boston, East Boston : -1906)
Norwegian-Danish Church (Boston, Roxbury : 1907-1931)
Continued after 1931, but under the Norwegian-Danish Conference.
Odeon (Boston, North End : 1842-1846)
The Odeon was a theatre at Federal and Franklin Streets, where St. John’s church met. Combined appointment with Bromfield in 1844.
Sixth home of the first congregation (Methodist Alley), Old West occupies the old Asher Benjamin church on Cambridge Street on Beacon Hill. The original frame structure was built in 1737, to be replaced by the brick church in 1806. The Congregational church was closed in 1892, and the building remodeled as a branch of the Boston Public Library. In 1962, it was made available to the Methodist Conference, and the congregation of First-Copley moved there in 1964.
Orient Heights (Boston, East Boston : 1890-1931)
The first preaching from Saratoga Street occurred in 1886, with regular services beginning in 1890, with a church building dedicated in 1893, on Breed Street. The church was closed in 1931.
Started in Harrison Square, the first building was at Parkman Street, opened in 1878. The church was extensively remodeled in 1905. In 1965, Parkman merged with First (Dorchester) and Stanton Avenue to form Wesley (Dorchester).
Rev. John W. Hamilton led the Church Street congregation in a growth process that led to the opening of People’s in 1884 at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Berkeley Street. The church was closed in 1922, merging with Bromfield-Tremont to form United, at the Tremont location.
Outgrowing May Street, Bromfield moved the mission in 1835 to larger quarters next door. May Street was re-named Revere Street in 1860. This building was occupied until Bromfield sold the building, and the congregation met in various places over the next eight years until the City Missionary Society purchased the old Swedish Baptist Church on Shawmut Avenue in 1911, and they became Fourth Methodist.
Ruggles Street (Boston, Roxbury : 1876-1884)
Originally on Bennington Street, the church purchased a lot on Saratoga Street in 1860, and dedicated its new church building in 1865. There was a fire in 1893. Merged with Meridian Street Bethel in 1917 to form Union (East Boston). The building then was turned over to the newly-organized St. Paul’s Italian Methodist Episcopal Church.
Organized in 1891, when the Boston City Missionary and Church Extension Society purchased an old union church. Merger discussions led to this church absorbing St. Paul’s in 1956 and First (Jamaica Plain) in 1960. The church became the conference’s first Hispanic ministry in 1971.
A small congregation, St. John’s met at the Odeon, a theatre at the corner of Federal and Franklin Streets, from 1842-1846, partly under the auspices of Bromfield Street.
St. John’s Lithuanian (Boston, South Boston : 1924-1943)
The First German congregation of the East German Conference, now located on Amory Street, re-joined the New England Conference in 1938. It absorbed Walnut Avenue in 1948. This church was closed and aborbed by St. Andrew’s in 1956.
Organized in 1920 by Giovanni Orro in the old Saratoga Street church building. The church federated in 1948, joining with St. John’s Episcopal and the Congregational Society, but was disbanded in 1956 with the death of pastor Rev. Gaetano Iorrizo, a Congregational minister.
Washington Boulevard changed its name to St. Stephen’s in 1958.
Started in June 1886 in a pine grove on Selden Street near Capen Street, a congregation soon formed, laying a cornerstone at the end of 1886 at the corner of Stanton and Evans, opening in July 1887. The church suffered a major fire in 1911. In 1965, Stanton Avenue closed, the congregation merging with First (Dorchester) and Parkman Street to form Wesley (Dorchester).
Organized in 1848 first at the corner of Suffolk and Canton Streets, it built a church in 1849 at Suffolk and Williams (now Pelham). Suffolk Street was re-named Shawmut in 1852, and the church was named Hedding Chapel in honor of Bp. Elijah Hedding, who had just died.
Began in 1880 and organized in 1882, as part of the Eastern Swedish Conference. Originally met in World’s Tabernacle, moving in 1882 to 10 Tremont Row, then in 1883 to Tremont Street, and later met at the First Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 1889 they purchased their own church at Ferdinand and Isabella Streets (1889-1913), then moved to the Walnut Park Church, Roxbury, as First Swedish.
Organized at the Immigrant Home on Marginal Street, where services had been held sporadically since 1888. In 1895, moved to Marginal Street.
The North Russell Street Church purchased the old Grace Episcopal Church on Temple Street in 1865, calling itself Temple Street or Grace. In 1873, it merged with Hanover Street, and took the name First (Boston).
The society at Hedding Chapel built this church starting in 1860 and dedicating it in 1862. Tremont Street became a major congregation, where the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was founded in 1869. Memorial windows for this organization are found throughout the church. Tremont was home to the merged congregation of Bromfield-Tremont beginning in 1913, the United Church when People’s Temple merged in 1922, and continued as Tremont Street after 1925 when United became Copley. It was listed as part of the Methodist Religious Society in Boston until 1947, then continued as an independent church until 1971.
After United (Bromfield-Tremont-People’s Temple) moved to Copley, a congregation continued at Tremont. From 1927 to 1947, Copley and Tremont were listed separately under the general name, Methodist Religious Society in Boston. The church was finally closed in 1971, when the building was sold to a Baptist congregation. It has been designated a United Methodist Historic Site.
Relocated from High Street and renamed in 1863, closed in 1924.
Organized in 1847. Name changed in 1874 to Monument Square.
Union Congregational was purchased in 1949 by Fourth Methodist, who then changed their name to Union. It is still open and flourishing.
Between 1922 and 1925, United was the Bromfield-Tremont merged church occupying the Tremont Street Church building. In 1925, they bought the Edward Everett Hale’s Second Congregational Church at Newbury and Exeter Streets, becoming Copley Methodist. A congregation did continue to function at the old Tremont Street church, however.
Organized in 1915, halfway between West Roxbury and Dedham churches. Name changed to St. Stephen’s in 1958.
Washington Park (Boston, Roxbury : 1965-1967)
Discontinued in 1967 to become an Ecumenical Center.
Washington Street (Boston, South End : 1868-1878)
Began in 1868 as a mission from Church Street, under the leadership of Ira G. Sprague, a student at the Boston Theological Seminary. Meet first at 544 Washington Street, then at larger quarters at 815 Washington Street at Lucas Street. In 1872, they began meeting in the vestry of the Pine Street Church, but that proved unacceptable, and the congregation met in Morgan Chapel from 1872-1875, but left in January 1875, meeting briefly at YWCA rooms, then at West Springfield Street, and in February 1875 meeting at 27 Motte Street, 4 doors from 722 Washington Street. The church lost its fulltime pastor in 1875, and closed around 1878.
Organized in 1871. Renamed in 1892 as Barham Memorial, in honor of a generous supporter.
The West Roxbury church, opened in 1888, was enlarged in 1904 and re-named Wesley Memorial. In 1911, the mortgage was paid due in part to a gift of $500 from members of the Conference on condition that the church be re-named Dorchester Memorial, after Daniel Dorchester, who had been at the founding of the church and had died in 1907, when collections were started to pay off the mortgage.
Began as a mission from the Bethany church (Roslindale) in 1887, finally organizing as a church in 1888, and opening a church on Park Street at March Avenue in 1890. The church was enlarged in 1904 and re-named Wesley Memorial.
West Roxbury (Boston, West Roxbury : 1944-1980)
Organized in 1838, with the first sermon in a hall at 2373 Washington Street, then later at Roxbury Town Hall. In 1840, the society moved to a new church on Williams Street (Shawmut Avenue), later occupied by the German church. In 1852, the church moved to the former Dudley Street Baptist Church at Warren and Cliff Streets, becoming the First (Roxbury).
The First (Roxbury) was re-built after the fire of 1868, on an elevated site on Winthrop Street. In the interim, the appointment was called Warren Street. Some members withdrew and formed Highlands on Warren Street in 1869. The building was sold to the city in 1927, the congregation meeting in a nearby Universalist church. In 1935, Winthrop Street became First (Roxbury) again.