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-MIDDLE026 | 26 Middle Street, Eastport, Maine | Central Congregational Church |
The Central Congregational Church building located on Middle Street in Eastport, Maine. Long known as the Seaman’s Church, the building was constructed in 1828, dedicated in February, 1829, with Daniel Low as local architect and builder. Little is known about Low other that he designed and built several early nineteenth houses in Eastport that are still standing near the church. The church building employs uniquely strong construction techniques not found elsewhere in New England. The original steeple of the church blew over in the Saxby Gale of 1869 and was replaced by the current steeple of different design. The tall steeple has long served as a navigational marker as it can be seen from a great distance at sea. The original main sanctuary space (as shown in photograph) is very largely intact though the original balcony was enclosed in about 1890 with later Gothic style windows lining the enclosing interior wall of the balcony. Earle Shettleworth, Jr., long time director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, recently wrote that he felt that the Central Congregational church building is “the finest example of federalist architecture in Washington County, Maine.” The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976. The building and property were gifted to the Tides Institute by the Congregational Church congregation in 2016. The small congregation continues to meet seasonally at the church building on Sunday mornings. Photo caption: Interior main sanctuary space of the federal style Central Congregational Church building in Eastport, Maine now owned by the Tides Institute. The building was constructed in 1828 and dedicated in 1829. Built:1829 Address: 26 Middle Street Eastport, Maine National Register ARCHITECTS Daniel Low ARCHITECTURAL STYLES Federal SCA, p.24 CENTRAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH Built in 1829 by architect-builder Daniel Low, of Eastport, Central Congregational Churchis called "one of the finer provincial Federal style churches in the state. On a stone foundation, the wooden frame building is covered with clapboards. The front entrance has 3 doors, the center door being taller, each with arches and fan lights. Three 12-over- 12 windows, each above a door, punctuate the balcony floor. The square tower holds front and side clock faces, and above is the spire, which was added in 1831. After the 1869 Saxby Gale blew off that spire, a differently designed spire was restored. Only a few years ago this church has also survived being struck by lightning, but has been restored. A wrought iron weather vane crowns the spire. The interior is large, with an arched ceiling. The pews have been filled both for worship and for musical concerts. F AB, JCB EWT, 2010 56) The Central Congregational Church (NR) Middle Street, Federal style. In January of 1818, a religious society was formed under the name of "First Evangelical Congregational Church and Society of Eastport," which chose Deacon Ezekiel Prince, Capt. Thomas Rogers, Nathan Bucknam, Benjamin B. Leavitt and Daniel Low as the building committee. Daniel Low, an architect and master builder, took charge and completed the church prior to its dedication February 18, 1829. Mr. Low's carpenters were said to have been mostly ship's carpenters. The original steeple was blown off during the Saxby Gale of 1869. In 1830, by an act of the State legislature, the society's name was shortened to the "Central Congregational Society of Eastport." From Kilby's Eastport and Passamaquoddy (1888): CENTRAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH. In the winter of 1819, Rev. Mighill Blood, of Bucksport, employed by a Massachusetts missionary society, came through to Eastport, and on the 8th of February instituted a church consisting of five persons, Ezekiel Prince, Samuel Starboard, Samuel Whitcomb, Jane N. Weston, and Sarah S. Whitney. The first Congregational meeting-house was then in process of construction; and it was the expectation of the members of the newly formed church that it would be connected with the society, worshipping in the new meeting- house when completed. But, when the time came, the proprietors voted to send to Cambridge for a Unitarian minister; and the connection was not made. The church, however, kept together, worshipping generally with the Baptists, and, though the numbers were reduced by death and removal, others were added by letter; and in 1825 Rev. Wakefield Gale, a graduate of Andover Theological Semi- nary, who had been preaching for a few Sundays for the Baptists while they were without a minister, commenced regular services in the Old South School-house, and soon gathered a congregation exceeding the capacity of that building. On the 11th of January, 1828, the society was organized under the name of the "First Evangelical Congregational Church and Society of Eastport." It was then decided to have a new house of worship; and Ezekiel Prince, Thomas Rogers, Nathan Bucknam, Benjamin B. Leavitt, and Daniel Low were chosen a building committee. The house, under the direction of Mr. Low as architect and builder, and dedicated Feb. 18, 1829, Mr. Gale preaching the sermon. This was the first church in town with a vestry under the same roof, and is the only one retaining the then prevalent style of interior finish. Its tall steeple was blown over in the great gale of 1869, and replaced by one of slightly different form. It has a clock paid for by the town. On account of the length of the name originally adopted, it was changed in 1830 by act of the State legislature to the "Central Congregational Society of Eastport." The first deacons chosen were Ezekiel Prince and Libbeus Bailey. Deacon Prince may be said to have founded the church and society, and was Its faithful friend to the end of his long life. He died July 18, 1852, aged ninety-one years. His was a marked figure in our streets, the last of the old school, clad in long stockings and knee breeches. Deacon George A. Peabody is now in the fiftieth year of his service in that capacity. Not long since, the church received a bequest of $2,000 from the estate of Miss Sarah Leavitt, and earUer in its history the sum of $400 from Mrs. Margaret Dawson. Organization for 1888. Pastor, Rev. Ora A. Lewis. Deacon, George A. Peabody. Prudential committee, George A. Peabody, John A. Lowe, Herbert Kilby. Clerk and treasurer, George A. Peabody. Superintendent Sunday-school, George A. Peabody.