Fairhaven Memorial Church: History
was begun on the buildings of the Unitarian Society of Fairhaven during the
month of April 1901
of the many splendid buildings erected by Mr.
is one hundred fourteen feet in height, one hundred feet long in the body and
fifty-three feet wide. The nave is thirty-two feet wide and seventy-one feet
long. The main aisle is sixty-two feet long and six feet wide.
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 wellkept
lawns and shrubbery. The architecture is fifteenth century English Gothic,
perpendicular style. The church is built of native stone, the granite of the
exterior walls being taken from the estate of Mr. Rogers in the south end of the
town and all of the large stone was raised into position by a donkey lift. It is
a granite of rich warm coloring which lends itself beautifully to this type of
decorative portions of the exterior are of royal blue Indiana limestone. The
interior walls also are of Indiana limestone of soft buff. Both exterior and
interior are richly decorated with carvings, the exterior stone work having been
carved by artisans from Italy and the interior woodwork by wood carvers from
Bavaria. As at Amiens, the artists wrought in creative fashion, giving variety
to both exterior and interior, its art being largely
The great tower, over one hundred and sixty-five feet high, of sparkling granite and carved limestone, is a landmark for many miles. In this tower is a finely adjusted D chime of eleven bells. There are one hundred eighty granite steps leading to this tower.
the church, you are first impressed, I think, by the wondrous beauty of the
windows, and thrilled by a feeling of deepest reverence. These windows were
the work of the late Robert Reid of New York. Mr. Reid had here an opportunity
that comes to but few masters to create not only the Memorial Window, but all
the windows as well, thus enabling him to portray the principal teachings of
Christ, and through them develop a perfect symphony. of color. His ideal is a
gradual change, or growth of color, beginning with the dark blues and purples
of mysterious night in "The Nativity" in the west, and gradually
changing through the "Nine Beatitudes" in the clerestory, to the
glowing colors of day in "The Sermon on the Mount", in the east.
"The Nativity" the idea represented is the birth of light emanating
from the Child, through the blue mystery of the night. This Window twenty-four
feet high and comprising five panels, is a picture. of great brilliance, with
the fire of gems in its gorgeous colorings, which change with the intensity of
the sunlight behind them. To the Mother and Child in the central panel come,
on the one hand, the Three Kings, the Magi, bearing their gifts; Melchoir with
his gold, Caspar with his frankincense, and Balthazar, his myrrh; on the other
hand, three Shepherds look on in wonderment. All but
opposite, and of the same size, is the "Sermon on the Mount", where
Christ is represented standing on the mountain with twelve of his disciples
gathered about him. On either side are gnarled old olive trees. Above the
purple mountain top fleecy clouds float by the Christ, a striking figure in
shining white, pronouncing the benediction, blessing the unseen multitude
which in reality is the congregation in the church. When you pass out, you
leave with the benediction of the Christ.
notable effect of the windows is the natural flesh quality in the figures. Two
years were spent in their designing and execution, and Mr. Reid regarded
them as his most important work.
the nine windows of the clerestory are portrayed the "Nine
Beatitudes", each containing three figures, distinctive in long graceful
lines and wonderful coloring. The smaller aisle windows bear the symbols of
the twelve Apostles, and in each ,is placed the name of a family long devoted
to the interests of the church. As memorials, they perpetuate the names of
Delano, Winsor, Fish, Stoddard, Nye, Taber, Tripp, Eldredge, Allen, Cox, Sawin
and Liscomb. Smaller windows in the vestibule, baptistry and south porch bear
the symbols of the four Evangelists. Protective glass is used both inside and
outside on small windows.
woodwork of the interior is of rare English oak, selected with the greatest
care. The pulpit, platform rail, organ fronts, chancel screen and pews are
richly carved. The pulpit, which occupies a central position at the front of
the rostrum, is very elaborate. It is an octagonal enclosure, open at one
side, the other sides being divided into panels of tracery. The corners bear
richly canopied niches, in which are the figures of the four major prophets,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel and two of the minor prophets, Zachariah
and Micah. Each prophet bears an unrolled scroll on which is written a
platform rail is a perforated panel, elaborately carved, bearing singing
cherubs on both sides. On the platform, behind the pulpit, are three seats for
the clergy, upholstered in leather of an unusual tone of color. At the top and
on the back of the central chair there are carved cherub heads and a figure of
Moses reading frorn the Book of Life, and on each arm is an angel bearing a
dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Lions adorn the arms of the other chairs.
choir screen, stretching between the two limestone walls of the chancel,
consists of nine beautiful panels, separated by tiny buttresses with
pinnacles, each having a tympanum filled with tracery. Above is a vaulted
canopy surmounted by a cresting of Tudor flowers. The principal feature of the
screen is the line of finely sculptured busts on a panel of rich ornament.
These bear symbols of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
. Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Spiritual Strength, Knowledge, Love, Holy
Fear and Faith. A most interesting feature is the figure typifying Holy Fear,
organ fronts at either side of the chancel are duplicates in form, although
varied considerably in detail and ornamentation. At the four comers are large
winged trumpeters, the canopies under which they stand being richly decorated
with cherub heads, doves, and flowers, and in the panels here can be seen the
exquisite grain of the rare oak. Directly above is a vaulted canopy bearing a
line of carved busts representing boys in mediaeval costume playing upon
curious instruments of the period, and over these on the next solid panel is a
line of winged choristers perpetually singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy".
Still higher, delicately pedorated bands and canopies clasp the organ pipes,
the whole terminating in finely wrought carved spires. The visible pipes of
the organ are covered with beaten gold, decorated in warm color and clouded
silver. The organ, made by Hutchins and Votey, is one of the finest and most
effective in New England, although not .the largest. For fundamental quality
and sweetness of tone it is believed to excel anything in the country.
pews, ( 32 ) seating approximately two hundred fifty people, of the same rare
oak, have elaborately carved ends and backs, no two being alike.
The oak ceiling of the nave presents many interesting features. It is divided by heavy trusses into five bays, separated into squares, decorated with Tudor tips. Upon the trusses and on the cornice are many shields with a great variety of Christian symbols emblazoned in gold. Ten large winged figures ten feet high, stand as the central feature on each side of the trusses. Hand carved and covered with beaten gold, they bear inscriptions symbolizing ten attributes of the intellectual life: Philosophy, Rhetoric, Music, Arithmetic, Geometry, Grammar, Astrology, Metaphysics, Dialectics and Theology.
floor of the church is of marble. In the nave, beneath the pews, are square
blocks of marble from Tennessee, around which is an elaborately panelled frame
visible in the aisles, of colored marbles, yellow from France, pink from Italy,
and Green Alps from Switzerland. The base of the pulpit is a beautiful piece
of Alps green marble: also of the same material are the bases of the organ on
each side, and the front and steps of the platform. The floor of the platform is
of Knoxville marble, covered with a heavy Turkish carpet.
carvings of the limestone are greatly varied, the tracery of the arches of the
nave exhibiting the five principal motifs used extensively throughout the
church, - the hawthorn, grape, maple, oak and ivy.
the church through the south door will be seen on the south wall to the left and
above the first electric light fixture a carved head of a child which is
supposed to resemble Beatrice C. Mosgrove, the daughter of Mrs. Mildred C.
Mosgrove who wrote this descriptive story of the Art and Symbolism shown in the
Architecture and Decoration of this church.