Needham History Center & Museum Needham History Center & Museum, Needham Massachusetts 02492

42. the First Baptist Church in Needham (858 Great Plain Avenue)

The First Baptist Church in its original location, at the corner of Highland and Great Plain Avenues, circa 1880.  In 1928, it was lifted and moved (below) from this corner to its current location along Great Plain Avenue.

The first Baptist congregation recorded in Needham was organized in 1780. The congregation was very small, and mostly attended to by itinerant ministers. It dissolved in 1795, and for the next 40 years, Needham’s Baptists met for services in other towns, finally joining together with Baptists in Dover to form another small congregation in 1838.

By 1854, the Needham congregation was large enough to raise money and build its own church. The building was completed in 1872, and was built on the corner of Great Plain and Highland Avenues (as shown in the picture). As the membership grew, the building was expanded and renovated to accommodate its needs. In 1901, a clock was added to the steeple, which was Needham’s first public clock.

The church needed additional space in the 1920s, but by this time the lots around it were taken and there was no more room. The church bought itself a larger parcel on Great Plain Avenue, about two blocks to the east and decided to move the building to its new lot. In 1928, the church was lifted and pulled by horse team and truck to its current location.

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