The South Congregational church burned on December 10, 1977. The lot is now a small park with two benches and the bell which survived the fire, surrounded by the old foundation.

South Congregational Church, which burned in December 1977.

The house owned by Asa Brown was moved it to its current location on County Road in 1837 so that the South Congregational Church could be built facing the South Green on a lot west of the Heard mansion, now the Ipswich Museum.

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In June 1899 the church steeple was struck by lightning and burned to the bell deck, causing the destruction of the bell. A new bell was contributed by Mrs. Elizabeth M Brown in memory of her husband the late William G Brown.

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Closeup from the 1832 Ipswich map. The previous building of the South Church is shown in the intersection at the top of the Green. It was removed in 1837 and the new building was constructed behind it. The S. Smith house was moved to County Rd. where it still stands as the Rogers & Brown Bed and Breakfast.

Bruce Lord adds: “The South Parish House as it was known was abandoned as a church about 1920. Thomas Franklin Waters was the next to last last minister. Edgar Fletcher Allen served from 1912 to 1914. Thereafter seminary students served until it closed. It was used for all sorts of events for the town. It still had an intact and playable organ. In the basement was a six lane bowling alley. My father was janitor of it for many years. My parents’ 25th anniversary party was held in the upstairs hall. It was probably the premier meeting hall for the town for many years.”

Sally’s Pond, originally “Centennial Pond”

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August 1896 - Ceremonies at the unveiling of the stone, South Green, Ipswich. Photo is from Randolph M. Appleton's photo album. Photo courtesy of David Thayer
August 1896 – Ceremonies at the unveiling of the stone, South Green, Ipswich. Photo is from Randolph M. Appleton’s photo album. Photo courtesy of David Thayer

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One thought on “South Congregational Church: only the Bell Remains

  1. Although the south Church did unite with the North Church about 1920, it continued to be used for religious purposes. The Primary Department of the Sunday School continued to be held there, groups such as Christian Endeavor met there, and it was used for regular worship after the North Church burned until it too burned. Congregationalists felt a double loss.

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