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Lowell History: Huguenot Church

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The first of the French Protestant churches in Lowell, Massachusetts was built in 1883 and to this day the building still stands at 55 Bowers Street. The following year, Rev. Calvin Eli Amaron, a French Canadian by birth, was named its pastor. He was 32 years old. On 18 July 1885 he had a meeting in the law offices of Marshall and Hamblet on Merrimack Street in Lowell. Exactly two months later a charter was issued for the French Protestant College whose purpose would be to educate young men and women following the norms of other schools and colleges in New England, with an emphasis on the formation of teachers, missionaries and pastors of the Protestant faith.

The French Protestant College opened, on the site of the church, on 27 October 1885. There were twenty-five students and six teachers. However, due to a lack of students and community support it barely survived the first two years. In spite of this, in 1887 the school was offered $1000 toward a new building provided it could come up with another $15,000. A fund raising campaign was organized and much support and encouragement came from the Springfield, MA area. In addition to monetary support The French Protestant College of Lowell was offered the former original building of the Springfield Hospital, if it chose to relocate. The offer was accepted and the French Protestant College left Lowell for Springfield, Massachusetts. The name was changed and the school still exists today as the American International College.In 1919 the Congregational pastors of Lowell sold the Bowers Street building to St. George Syrian Orthodox Church.The second French Protestant church was founded on the other side of the Merrimack River in Centralville. In 1897 the Merrimack Manufacturing Company sold a parcel of land to the Lowell Baptist Union. A church was built at 49 Ennell Street, corner of West Sixth Street. Little else is known. This building, sold in 1942 by the Lowell Baptist Union to the American Baptist Convention, still exists today and is known as the Peniel Spanish Christian Church.