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Unitarian Memorial Church
Unitarian Memorial Church, Fairhaven MA.jpg
Unitarian Memorial Church
Unitarian Memorial Church is located in Massachusetts
Unitarian Memorial Church
Location in Massachusetts
Unitarian Memorial Church is located in the United States
Unitarian Memorial Church
Location in the United States
Location Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Built 1901
Architect Charles Brigham
Architectural style Late Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No. 96001374
Added to NRHP November 22, 1996

Unitarian Memorial Church is a historic church on 102 Green Street in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, home to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven.

The congregation was founded in 1819, moved into the Washington Street Christian Meetinghouse in 1832, and called its first minister in 1840. The Reverend Jordinn Nelson Long is its currently serving minister, and the Society President is Lawrence DeSalvatore. UUSF is a member congregation of the Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association, and a designated GLBTQA Welcoming Congregation, a UUA Honor Congregation, and a part of the Green Sanctuary movement. Services are held in the neo-Gothic sanctuary at 10:30 a.m. from September through mid-June each year. The church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven Massachusetts was built, financed and donated to the Unitarians in 1904 by Henry H. Rogers in memory of his mother, Mary Eldredge Huttleston. The church was designed by Boston architect Charles Brigham in a Gothic Revival style. It is one hundred fourteen feet (34.75m) in height, one hundred feet (30.48m) long in body and fifty-three feet (16.15m) wide. The nave is thirty-two feet (9.75m) wide and seventy-one feet (21.64m) long. The main aisle is sixty-two feet (18.90m) long and six feet (1.83m) wide. The church, parish house and former parsonage (now Harrop Center) of the Unitarian Society are so placed as to form three sides of a quadrangle, set among well-kept lawns and shrubbery. Granite (locally quarried) with Indiana limestone decorative carvings dominate the exterior while marble and limestone carvings dominate the interior. All stonework artistry was created by forty-five Italian craftsmen brought to Fairhaven by Rogers.


All the woodwork in the sanctuary is English bog oak carved by forty-five Bavarian craftsmen. No two carvings are alike on the thirty-two pews, the ornate pulpit, the organ pipe cases, the choir screen or the doors. In the rafters above the pews are ten wooden angels covered in beaten gold. Each ten foot high angel holds articles and bear inscriptions symbolizing ten attributes of the intellectual life. The south entrance has twelve bronze symbols of the zodiac inlaid in the marble floor.


The great tower, over one hundred and sixty-five feet (50.29m) high, of sparkling granite and carved limestone, is a landmark for many miles. There are one hundred eighty granite steps leading to the tower. In this tower is a finely adjusted D Chime of eleven bells. They weigh a total of 14,000 pounds (6350kg) and are played (struck) by iron hammers. The bells were cast by Chester Meneelly of the Meneelly Bell Company of Troy, New York. The original ringer's gallery is still in the tower even though the bells are now played both by hand or electronically from a small room in the sanctuary.

Bronze doors

At the south entrance to the sanctuary are the great bronze doors, extremely rich in design, each leaf is solid bronze weighing 2 1/4 tons. Following the Gothic outline of each leaf is a series of niches. Those on the exterior are canopied, each containing a finely modeled figure nine inches (22.9cm) high. The thirty-eight statues represent great characters in the history of Christianity, covering a period of nineteen centuries.

Baptismal font

From the cloister with its ornate bronze gates and marble mosaic floor we enter the foyer with the baptismal font. The font sits on elegant white Indian marble inlaid with bronze lettering. Over the font hangs a large oak canopy carved by Johannes Kirchmayer with ten angels each holding a scroll engraved with one of the Ten Commandments. Above them are ten standing figures of men who preached and spread Christianity throughout the world. Below the majestic vaulted ceiling in four corners are stone carvings symbolizing the four stages of womanhood: Infant, Youth, Maturity and Old Age. The beautiful bronze medallions inlaid in the marble floor represent Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


The organ manufactured by the Hutchings and Votey Company was installed in 1909. With 2,300 pipes (24 ranks) on 3 manuals, it was considered one of the finest in the country at that time. When the new hot-air heating system installed in 1968 ruined the Hutchings pneumatic mechanism, the organ was replaced by Roche Organ Co of Taunton MA in 1971 saving exterior casework and 12 original ranks increasing the number of ranks to 60, 3450 pipes. The console was relocated from the left side to the center of the organ loft at that time. A digital upgrade of the console was accomplished by Barry Turley in 2008. Today, the Organ remains among the finest for its size. All the ornamental pipes on the organ case are covered in beaten gold, the color of clouded silver. They are decorated very ornately.

Stained glass windows

The stained glass windows are the work of American Impressionist artist, Robert Reid. They cover the theme of the birth of Jesus in the Memorial Window utilizing color and shading from cool blues to warm earth tones through the nine clerestory windows from East to West. Seven of these windows are titled with one of the Beatitudes (or Blessed Be's) which Jesus was teaching his Disciples as illuminated in the glorious twenty-four foot high Sermon on the Mount window located on the west wall. One notable effect of the windows is the natural flesh quality in the figures. Two years were spent in their design and execution. These stained glass windows were Reid's most prized work, a masterpiece set and his only effort in stained glass.

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