The Town & the City: Lowell Before The Civil War

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Churches

The documents below discuss the history of the churches of early Lowell.

While the histories of some churches, especially those still standing, are well-documented, tracing the history of some of the individual churches in early Lowell in the 21st century is difficult. The statements below are written as guidance for someone who engages in this research.

  • The main reason for these difficulties is the rapid population growth of Lowell in this period.
  • Another reason is the number of denominations in the area in that period. Different ideas, beliefs, philosophies, and practices led to the coming together of some people and the separating of others.
  • While some new churches were started from scratch, some new churches split off from other churches, often for the size of the congregation and on good terms, and sometimes because of a schism between groups within the church, or a financial problem.
  • There were also many and regular name changes, and often multiple names were used when referring to the same church.
  • In some cases, street names changed, and during this period street numbers were not used.
  • Congregations regularly moved to different, sometimes new and sometimes existing, buildings. The existing building might not have been a church, and a church building might be sold to an individual or business and no longer used as a church
  • Especially early on, some meetings and worship took place in buildings that were not churches (e.g., Town Hall, schools).
  • In some cases, a move involved physically moving the whole building to a different area.
  • There were, in many cases, frequent changes of pastors, which led to inconsistent or missing documentation.
  • There are incomplete labels on the maps made during that period.

  Year  

  Population of  
Lowell

  Number of Churches  
in Lowell

1832

10,254

8

1840

20.796

17

1850

33,000

23

1860

36,827

22

1870

40,928

24

 

List of Churches in the Gallery below

Appleton Street Church
Central Methodist Episcopal Church
Church of the First Unitarian Society
First Baptist Church
First Congregational Church
First Free-Will Baptist Church
First Universalist Church
Free Chapel
High Street Church
John St. Congregational Church
Kirk Street Church
Lee Street Church
Prescott Street Church
Second Universalist Church
St. Anne's Church
St. Mary's Church
St. Patrick's Church
St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church
St. Peter's Church
Third Baptist Church
Worthen Street Baptist Church
Worthen Street Methodist Episcopal Church

Churches in the 1855 City Directory

Appleton Street Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Central Methodist Episcopal Church (picture)

From the 1855 City Directory

Central Methodist Episcopal Church (text)

From the 1855 City Directory

Church of the First Unitarian Society

From the 1855 City Directory

First Baptist Church

From the 1855 City Directory

First Congregational Church

From the 1855 City Directory

First Free-Will Baptist Church

From the 1855 City Directory

First Universalist Church (picture)

From the 1855 City Directory

First Universalist Church (text)

From the 1855 City Directory

Free Chapel

From the 1855 City Directory

High Street Church

From the 1855 City Directory

John Street Congregational Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Kirk Street Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Lee Street Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Prescott Street Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Second Universalist Church

From the 1855 City Directory

St. Anne's Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Saint Mary's Church

From the 1855 City Directory

St. Patrick's Church

From the 1855 City Directory

St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church

From the 1855 City Directory

St. Peter's Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Third Baptist Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Worthen Street Baptist Church

From the 1855 City Directory

Worthen Street Methodist Episcopal Church

From the 1855 City Directory