Old North Church, Marblehead // 1825

Old North Church, formally the First Church of Christ Marblehead, was organized in 1635 by fishermen and mariners who formed a church to relieve them of the burden of travel to Salem in order to receive church sacraments and participate in civil affairs (before the separation of church and state). They met in member’s homes until 1638, when a meeting house was constructed overlooking the ocean. By 1695, a “modern” church structure was built on Franklin Street. The structure was not adequate for the growing wealth and prosperity of the town, as Marblehead emerged from local cod fishing to overseas trade. In 1824, merchant-politician William Reed helped the congregation acquire a large lot on Washington Street. Within a year, the new stone church was built. The stone to build the church was blasted from the ledge upon which it stands. In 1879, a wooden meeting house was built to accommodate an increased membership at prayer meetings. The detached meeting house was added onto in 1951, connecting it to the stone church. The two attached buildings were designed/re-designed in the Colonial Revival style to add to the architectural composition of the old Federal period church.