Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey

308 Manet Avenue

Quincy's congregational churches represent one of the oldest and most numerous religious groups in the city. Their history runs back over 150 years to the founding of Bethany Congregational Church in 1832. The gradual settling of the outlying districts of the city led to the eventual establishment of nine Congregational Churches by 1911.

The Houghs Neck Congregational Church, earlier known as Houghs Neck Union Chapel Society and the People's Union Church, began its religious life in 1884 when summer residents to Houghs Neck, mostly women from the Stoughton Street Baptist Church in Boston, felt the need for a convenient place to worship during vacation. A plot of land was immediately purchased at 64 Bay View Avenue but it was not until 1894, when Houghs Neck was fairly bursting with summer activity, that the one story barn-like sanctuary was built. The new church was dedicated with an appropriate flourish on July 7,1894 wlth the well known Theophilus King, whose name is perpetuated today through his annual bequests to the churches of Quincy, giving the principle address. In 1913 a peaked bell tower and hallway was added to the original structure.

Assessors records.
Building Permit.
Quincy City Directory,1927.
Quincy Patriot Ledger. July 25, 1969.
Quincy Patriot Ledger:100th Anniversary. January 7, 1937. p. D-18

The present Houghs Neck Congregational Church was built in stages, juxtaposing different architectural styles, in the same manner its predecessor was constructed and added to. Originally, the summer congregation worshipped in a simple wooden building which later had a central Gothic Revival tower added to it. This was demolished to make way for the present church which held its services in a basement area completed in 1925. In 1931, the Romanesque Revival facade was built, incorporating in its tall bell cote the only remnant of the first chapel, the bell. Unlike the bell cote of the Union Congregational Church at 136 Rawson Road, this one thrusts upward from the frontal plane set within a steeply pitched slate roof giving the church a strong vertical element. It is an effective, simple and elegant facade composition made up of an arched entrance framed at the sides and top with small arched windows set within granite voussoirs, barely perceptible from the granite random ashlar wall. Fronting this strong facade is a very pleasant plazza area created by a 3'curved granite wall and a floor of random vari-colored slate which seem to lead the congregation meeting there right into the church. It is an effective way of creating a communal area within the confines of the church's exterior parameters. Behind the church is a stuccoed addition which adds to its subdued picturesqueness. Its architectural integrity lies in the strength and simplicity of its facade set within a welcoming walled area.