All Souls Church // 1905

As many neighborhoods of Braintree, MA developed rapidly at the turn of the 20th century, demand for new neighborhood churches rose. Located at the edge of North Braintree, the All Souls Church is a well-preserved Gothic Revival church . All Souls Church in Braintree is designed in a Gothic Revival style, which had been popular in residential and especially ecclesiastical designs in America since the 1830s and 1840s. Over a half century later, American architects were proficient in Gothic design, and were able to faithfully reproduce the characteristics of Gothic designs from different countries and eras, or even to mix them in interesting ways. Late Gothic Revival elements at All Souls Church include the pointed arches, stone trim, buttresses, battlemented tower, and the large windows filled with stone tracery in lancet designs. The church was designed by Edwin James Lewis, Jr. (1859-1937), an accomplished Boston architect who concentrated on Gothic ecclesiastical designs.Relatively unknown, Lewis actually worked as a draftsman for the prominent Boston firm of Peabody and Stearns before establishing his own practice in 1887. Many of his architectural drawings are in the Historic New England Collections. The church building has been the subject of Community Preservation funds to restore some significant features of the space for the community at large to enjoy.

History from the church’s website:

On November 21, 1886, a group of Braintree residents interested in forming a liberal church met at the Town Hall. By-laws were adopted January 29, 1888. Among the signers were Daniel Cain and Henry Arnold. There was discussion as to whether it should be called Unitarian but as no Unitarians came forward, it was called First Universalist Parish of Braintree. United church services of the two societies began September 23, 1900. At this time All Souls Church requested affiliation with the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. The Universalists kept their parish organization until 1904 when all funds were turned over to the Building Committee of All Souls Church. Centered in religious faith, All Souls Church continues to have a strong and active presence in the community. We are the beneficiaries of a marvelous Unitarian Universalist tradition that has been cultivated and passed down through the generations.

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