Created By: Westfield Historic Commission
The First Congregational Church, located on Broad Street across from the Westfield Green, is an impressive Italianate edifice. It is the church’s fourth meeting house. The first was built around 1673 and the second around 1720. The latter building burned in 1803 and was replaced in 1805 by a new meeting house, called the Bulfinch Church because of its Charles Bulfinch-derived design. According to Vol. 2 of Lockwood’s Westfield and its Historic Influences (1922):
The old Bulfinch church building was purchased by Hon. William G. Bates, moved to a lot back of its old location, and, the steeple having been taken down, used for carriage making and other purposes for many years, until destroyed by fire.
The present church building was erected in 1860, with L. F. Thayer as architect and George Green as builder. The efficient work of the latter was so highly appreciated when completed that the society voted him a gift of $500.
The original steeple was damaged in a windstorm on February 27, 1886, when it was torn off and crashed into the church. It was replaced by an extremely elaborate second steeple, which was in turn replaced by the current steeple, erected in 1962.
Reverend Edward Taylor
Edward Taylor was the minister of Westfield, Massachusetts, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. He wrote poetry throughout his life, and his poems testify to his deep religious faith. He cautioned his family not to publish his poetry, and when it finally appeared in print in 1939, it was considered one of the great literary discoveries of the 20th century. Today, Taylor is regarded as one of the finest Colonial poets. His gravestone, and that of his first wife, Elizabeth, can be seen in the walkway of the First Congregational Church.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Whipping Around Westfield- A Self-Guided Walking and Biking Tour