First Universalist Church (Somerville, Massachusetts)

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First Universalist Church
SomervilleMA FirstUniversalistChurch.jpg
First Universalist Church (Somerville, Massachusetts) is located in Massachusetts
First Universalist Church (Somerville, Massachusetts)
Location Somerville, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°23′15″N 71°6′5″W / 42.38750°N 71.10139°W / 42.38750; -71.10139Coordinates: 42°23′15″N 71°6′5″W / 42.38750°N 71.10139°W / 42.38750; -71.10139
Built 1916
Architect Ralph Adams Cram
Architectural style Other, Romanesque
Governing body Private
MPS Somerville MPS
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP September 18, 1989

The First Universalist Church is a historic Universalist Church building at 125 Highland Street in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Romanesque church building was built between 1916 and 1923 to a design by Ralph Adams Cram, and is the only local example of his work. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.[1] It is currently owned by the Highland Masonic Building Association, and is the home of King Solomon's Lodge AF & AM, the builders of the Bunker Hill Monument.

Description and history[edit]

The First Universalist Church is located on the north side of Highland Avenue, opposite Trull Lane and the First Unitarian Church. It has a roughly cruciform shape, with a long body oriented parallel to the street, with a square tower projecting at the right end of the front and a gabled projection at the left end. The exterior is primarily plain stucco, with trim details in brick and terra cotta. The front facade has round-arch windows in pairs, framed by brick trim with a white pilaster in between. These window bays are set apart by buttresses with brick caps. The main entrance is set recessed in a round-arch opening at the base of the tower. The tower has four stages, demarcated by string courses of terra cotta. The lower stages have round-arch windows in similar style to the body, and the top stage has an open belfry with similar round-arch openings. It is capped by a pyramidal roof.[2]

The church was built from 1916 to 1923 to a design by the noted ecclesiastical architect Ralph Adams Cram, who produced a somewhat more Romanesque plan than the typical Gothical Revival work he is best known for. It was the last of several churches to be built along the stretch of Highland Avenue northwest of Somerville's civic area.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b "NRHP nomination for First Universalist Church". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 

External links[edit]

The historical records of the First Universalist Church in Somerville are in the Andover-Harvard Theological Library at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.