Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Springfield's First Public Building


In the year 1645, Springfield built its first meeting house for religious services. Thomas Cooper was hired to build the meeting-house, which was to be 40 feet long and 25 feet wide. The meeting-house was to have a number of large windows and two turrets. One turret was for the bell and the other for a watch-house.

When Cooper completed the work, he received in payment, “wheate, pease, pork, wampum, debts and labor”. The building was located on the south side of Court Square, a few feet back from Main Street near what is now Elm Street. It was reported that the new meeting-house was the first building devoted to religious worship in the State (west of Boston) and the first public building for any purpose in Springfield. It was also considered the beginning of the First Church on Court Square.

In 1650, John Pynchon reached an agreement with the town to make a chamber over the meeting-house. He would have use of it for ten years and if the town needed it, they could have it provided they pay him in effect for his costs. Two years later, the town decided to take possession of the chamber. Over the years, the town rented the chamber out to various people as a place for storing grain.

Source: History of Springfield, MA

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