First Parish Church, Beverly // 1770

In the 17th century, present-day Beverly was still a part of Salem and those who lived on the “Bass River side” of town found it difficult to attend church in Salem proper. As crossing by boat or of travel by land was tough on the residents here, paired with the fact the increase of population in this part of town, it was justified that a new church should be erected here. The first church in Beverly was erected in 1656, likely with mud and log walls with a thatch roof. The building was replaced with a more suitable place of worship in 1672, after the church was formerly recognized and headed by minister John Hale. Hale was born in Charlestown and attended Harvard College as a young man. He was ordained as the minister of the first parish church here and oversaw the churches separation from Salem Parish. Interestingly, John Hale was one of the most prominent and influential ministers associated with the Salem Witch Trials, being noted as having initially supported the trials and then changing his mind and publishing a critique of them. The church grew with the population of town and a new building was constructed in 1770, just before the Revolution. The church was renovated in 1835 to give it the Greek Revival appearance we see today.

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