first parish church, lincoln, massachusetts, historical inventory report

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First Parish Church in Lincoln, Massachusetts, historical and architectural report on the 1842 Greek Revival church originally built as a Unitarian Church builder Reuben Smith of Stow, Massachuseets, now listed on the National Register as part of the Lincoln Center National Historic District.

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FIRST PARISH CHURCH

John C. MacLeanLINCOLN HISTORICAL COMMISSION MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL COMMISSION

FIRST PARISH CHURCH: INVENTORY FORM B

Location: Lincoln Center National Historic District, 4 Bedford Road, in Lincoln, Massachusetts Period of Construction Represented: 1842 Significance: Architecture; Religious History; Community Development Massachusetts Historical Commission: For guidance on the use of these files as well as access to additional files on historic properties in Lincoln and Massachusetts, go to: http://mhc-macris.net/

Massachu settsPu lisher@gm b ail.com Lincoln, Massachusetts 2013

FORM B - BUILDING MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL COMMISSION MASSACHUSETTS ARCHIVES BUILDING 220 MORRISSEY BOULEVARD BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02125Photograph

Assessors Number

USGS Quad

Area(s)

Form Number

53 9 0

Maynard

A, D

36

Town: Lincoln Place: (neighborhood or village)Lincoln Center Historic District

Address: 4 Bedford Road Historic Name: First Parish Church; Unitarian Church(historical, now non-denominational); White Church Uses: Present: Church, The First Parish in Lincoln

Original: Church, The Unitarian CongregationalSociety of Lincoln

Date of Construction: 1842 Source: Unitarian Congregational Society 1842 records Style/Form: Greek Revival Architect/Builder: Builder- Reuben Smith of Stow, MA Exterior Material: Foundation: stone Wall/Trim:wood clapboards; flush wood boards asphalt shingles

Topographic or Assessor's Map

Roof:

Outbuildings/Secondary Structures: remnants of stonewall/horse-sheds foundation

Major Alterations (with dates):Stearns Room addition at back of church, 1963; interior balcony, 1967-68

Condition: good Moved: no |X | Acreage: 0.43 Setting: Situated near the center crossroads of Lincolnshistoric village/District, the church joins the Library, Parish House, Bemis Hall, and Town Offices as prominent public buildings mixed within a traditional residential village, retaining its agricultural character through open fields, including a conservation-restricted field behind the church.

yes | |

Date

Recorded by: John C. MacLean Organization: Lincoln Historical Commission Date (month / year): January 2013

Follow Massachusetts Historical Commission Survey Manual instructions for completing this form.

INVENTORY FORM B CONTINUATION SHEET MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL COMMISSION220 MORRISSEY BOULEVARD, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02125

4 BEDFORD ROAD, LINCOLNArea(s) Form No.

A, D 36_X_ Recommended for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.If checked, you must attach a completed National Register Criteria Statement form.

(Statement not attached: BUILDING IS CURRENTLY LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER}Use as much space as necessary to complete the following entries, allowing text to flow onto additional continuation sheets.

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:Describe architectural features. Evaluate the characteristics of this building in terms of other buildings within the community. Built in the Greek Revival style in 1842 as the towns Unitarian Church or Unitarian Meeting House and serving as the church of The First Parish in Lincoln since 1942 (when the towns Congregational and Unitarian societies legally united together, following a federation initiated in 1935), this building has also been known locally as the White Church or the sanctuary, while in 1990 it was officially designated as the Church. An addition was made at the rear of the church in 1962-63 that includes a meeting room known as the Stearns Room; the Parish is exploring plans to reconstruct the Stearns Room addition. This Unitarian/First Parish Church is an architecturally and historically contributing, integral part of the local Lincoln Center Historic District (LIN.A) created in 1981 and the Lincoln Center National Historic District (LIN.D) created in 1985. While the Stearns addition would have been a non-contributing element when the district was placed on the National Register in 1985, in 2012-13 that addition turns 50 years old, and thereby it now would be classified as a contributing feature. The Parish holdings also include two other buildings on separate lots, just up the road and separated from the Church lot by a single privately held residence. Since the 1942 union of the two parishes, the associated Romanesque Revival former 1891-92 Congregational Church serves the congregation as its Parish House, also locally known as the Stone Church (LIN.38, 14 Bedford Road); originally designed by architect Henry Martyn Francis, with a low-profile1952 Modernist addition off of the back elevation, it contains meeting rooms, Sunday School classrooms, and administrative offices. Behind the Parish House is the Modernist/Contemporary 1958 Third Parsonage (LIN.86, 16 Bedford Road), designed by architect Walter Hill. These buildings are also integral parts of the local Lincoln Center Historic District (LIN.A) and the Lincoln Center National Historic District (LIN.D); while the Parsonage was less than 50 years old and thereby considered a non-contributing element when the district was placed on the National Register in 1985, today it also would be classified as a contributing feature, reflective of the districts historical development over time, with representations of all periods of architectural style in Lincoln. One of the most important styles in the district, the Greek Revival architecturally redefined the center of Lincoln, as the construction of a number of new buildings on smaller lots during the 1830s and 1840s created a much stronger sense of a clustered village, set on the slope of a hill (see 1887 Historical View and c. 1910 Historical View). Indicative of the gable-to-road Greek Revival houses constructed within the village are the homes immediately to the south and north of the Unitarian/First Parish Church: the 1832 Wheeler-Farrar-Bemis House (LIN.36, 2 Bedford Road; National Register, district) to its south, situated attheFiveRoadscrossroadsthatformsthehubofthetownsinternalroadnetworkandthe1836NewhallChapinHouse (LIN.37, 7 Bedford Road; National Register, district) to its northeach represents an American vernacular translation of the Greek Revival style. They also provide an interrelated Greek Revival setting for the church; significantly, they still visually reflect its setting at the time of construction, although some earlier outbuildings have disappeared. As with the church, full temple-style Greek Revival buildings would follow in the village, with the construction of the 1848 Lincoln Old Town Hall (LIN.30, 25 Lincoln Road; National Register, districtmoved twice since its first construction) and the c. 1854-56 Asa White House (LIN.75, 27 Sandy Pond Road; National Register, district). Directly related to the church is the 1843 Greek Revival Abel Wheeler House (LIN.79, 67 Bedford Road; National Register, district/Preservation Restriction); carpenter-builder Reuben Smith (1793-1853) of Stow is document as the builder of the 1842 church and subsequently of the 1843 Wheeler House. The church sits on a relatively small lot, with limited space between that lot and the adjoining Wheeler-Farrar-Bemis House. With limited space, indeed, in the nineteenth century a barn associated with that house as well as horse sheds of the church extended to the boundary lines of the respective properties; some of the foundation work for those buildings is still in evidence. For many years, two different buildings used as a store and post office had stood between the church and the Newhall-Chapin House; these included the Lincoln Old Town Hall building, from c. 1890 to 1917 (see 1875 Lincoln Village Map and 1904 Continuation sheet 1

INVENTORY FORM B CONTINUATION SHEET MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL COMMISSION220 MORRISSEY BOULEVARD, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02125

4 BEDFORD ROAD, LINCOLNArea(s) Form No.

A, D 36Historical View). It appears that there have not been intervening buildings on that side since 1917, however, thereby providing an open viewscape from the road to the conservation-restricted field situated behind that house and behind the church (see Aerial Views). The church itself is of a temple in antis form with an added steeple. The gabled front faade faces east (actually southeasterly) to the road. Reflecting Greek temple traditions, it was initially rectangular in construction, the front faade 36 feet in width and the three-bay sides 50 feet deep; on the south elevation, much of the 1963 addition at the back of the church continues its historic rectangular shape, but on the north side, part of that addition forms an ell that extends out to the north by 18 feet. Terminating in a weathervane, the tapered upper portion of the square-shaped steeple is clad with clapboards set within prominent corner boards; this sits on a tapered, paneled base that in turn sits atop the entablature of a belfry. On each side of the belfry, square classical columns (possessing both a capital and base) frame the louvered opening for the bell, the columns support an unadorned entablature that has fully defined architrave, frieze, and cornice elements. A base that extends out from the columns, in turn sits on another base or cornice that extends further out, creating a graduated footing for the belfry that interplays with the cornice above. These allow for a wider lower base for the steeple, that base being clad with wide flush boards that are set within corner boards. With its front gable and Classical low-pitched roof, the front faade features a prominent pediment defined at its base by an unadorned but full entablature which joins with a strong raking cornice above. Flush boardvisually imitating the effects of stoneworkare used within the pediment, which is centered by a triangular louvered opening for ventilation, i

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