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The Town & the City: Lowell before and after The Civil War

Originally created to be a digital archive for Lowell documents from 1826 to 1861, this website has grown to cover many periods and events in Lowell's history.

The First Congregational Church / Smith Baker Center

Postcard. Postmark on the back is 1911.





Thr first building of the First Congregational Church was built in 1827 on the same land.
Lightening destroyed the steeple of the 300-seat church in 1874.
In 1885, the new 1300-seat church was built to accommodate a growing congregation.


CE#0038.0G Merrimack Street at Maiden Lane
April 20, 1916
Lowell City Engineers Collection (UMASS Lowell)
The facade of the church is on the right and this photo provides a good view of the cupolas and roof.


Detail from Lowell Atlas 1879

Before the “new” City Hall and the Library were built


Detail from Lowell Atlas 1892

After “new" City Hall and the Library were built



CE#0099.5P Merrimack Street and Maiden Lane
September 1, 1916
Lowell City Engineers Collection (UMASS Lowell)
Construction on the Dummer Street Extension. The future site of the Cardinal O'Connell Parkway
The wall of the First Congregational Church is on the right



CE #249
April 17, 1918

Lowell City Engineers Collection (UMASS Lowell)

Cardinal O'Connell Parkway



Lowell Courier, June 19, 1885

(If this is difficult to read, right click and save the image to your computer)



Lowell Sun, June 7, 1901

(If this is difficult to read, right click and save the image to your computer)



Rev. Smith Baker (1836 - 1917)



November 10, 1917



Lowell Sun, June 4, 1951





The auditorium-style sanctuary, a unique design for a church, has near-perfect acoustics. The space has been an ideal spot for performances and large gatherings, as well as community meetings.



The building has beautiful and vibrant stained glass windows. The small triangular window in the center reads “George Winslow Born 1803 Died 1884”. He is buried in the Lowell cemetery in a family plot with an artistic and ornate monument as the gravestone.


Lowell Historical Society

Annual Meeting and Presentation

Saturday, June 22, 2:00 PM

The Community Room at the Pollard Memorial Library


The Smith Baker Center:

The Lowell Cathedral’s Past, Present, and Future


Richard P. Howe, Jr.

Register of Deeds of the Middlesex Northern District

The history of the First Congregational Church and the Smith Baker Center


Dennis McCarthy

Lowell Architect

The architectural significance of the building


Paul Ratha Yem

Lowell City Councilor, District 7

The current status and actions by the city

Christine McCarron

Founder and Owner of The Beehive in Tyngsboro

The non-profit proposal and plans for the future


At the conclusion of the panel presentation, Dennis McCarthy will conduct a tour of 

the exterior of the Smith Baker Center right across the street

This is a free event open to the public

The annual meeting portion of the program will be very brief

See more about this event on the LHS Facebook page