History of Rockland Congregational Church

History of Rockland Congregational Church

Our church had its beginnings in the early 1830’s, when some members of the Congregational Church of Thomaston, who lived in the Shore Village, decided to form their own society. The congregation was organized on March 8, 1838 as the Second Congregational Society in Thomaston. Subsequently, in 1854, the city of Rockland was incorporated. Thus, the name Congregational Church of Rockland. The present church building, the third edifice, is located at 180 Limerock Street and was dedicated on September 12, 1965. The real essence of the history of the church comes from the commitment of members over the years.

The House – Old and New      
by Barbara Perkins, Church Historian

How did the church evolve over the years?

To answer that question we quote from a newspaper article printed on Tuesday, June 19, 1883.

“The house of worship built in 1835 in union with the Baptists, and whose interest was purchased in 1838 by Iddo Kimball to be used by the Congregational Society, has served us constantly from that time to the present. The edifice was a landmark of the city, and our people will long remember its angular white walls, its plain steeple and sharp spire, characteristic of the New England church of the past half-century. For a long time its ‘walls cried out’ for a change as the pastor expressed it. In July 1882 the question of a new house was settled and the plans drawn up by the New York firm of Kimball & Wisewell, who had made a study of church architecture, were accepted. The contract was awarded to A.A. Newbert & Sons for $6,780 and the work of demolition of the old house began in September. Circumstances have seemed to combine to retard the work of construction, until ten months have elapsed during which time services have been held on Sunday afternoon in the First Baptist house.
The change made in the exterior is complete. The old porch and steeple were demolished, and the body of the house raised and carried back fifteen feet onto land donated for that purpose by General Davis Tillson. Beneath the original church was constructed a basement, wherein are now the vestry, library, parlor, dining room, kitchen etc. Upon the front of the main house was raised a large, square tower of solid style architecture rising to the bell-deck 30 feet above. The belfry is 6 feet high, surmounted by a dome 20 feet high, with a finial of gilded ball and heavy cluster of lilies. The belfry contains no bell – a custom which it is to be hoped will become universal in our city. The balance of the front elevation is of unique architecture with a porch extending from the tower across the eastern end terminating in a curve. The porch contains 10 stained glass windows and above it is a row of 7 windows which light the rear section of the audience room. The other ornamental work of the front is of tasteful character. The tower contains in all 1 windows, which with the others already mentioned are of varying forms and contain stained glass of pretty colors. The main entrances are three in number, closed by doors of plain bead work, ornamented with massive bronze scroll strap hinges, the work of J.G. Torrey & Son. The body of the house is painted in a handsome shade of brown relieved by a harmonious shade of gray. The whole effect of the exterior is most admirable. The style of architecture differs from anything yet seen hereabouts and for that reason too, the edifice is to be commended. It is a style that one will not weary of viewing, and will grow in favor with our people as they study its general effect.”

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