Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey
157 Beale Street (St. Catheriine's Greek Orthodox church)
This handsome shingle and granite building began life as the Wollaston Unitarian Church in 1888. This church subsequently merged with United First Parish Church in Quincy in 1960 and the sanctuary was purchased for $40,000 by St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church of the South Shore. The dedication of St. Catherine's took place in November 1962. and the mortgage was ceremonially burned on October 4. 1964.
The forerunner of the St. Catherine's was the South Shore Hellenic Association, formed in 1958 by young men and women of the Greek orthodox faith who attended worship in St. John's Church and Annunciation Cathedral in Boston. The name of St. Catherine as the patron saint of the parish was adopted in April 1961. Services are conducted partially in Greek.
St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church is an important chapter in the recent religious history of Quincy as well as a link to the earlier history of Unitarianism. Together with the Wollaston Fire Station and the Wollaston School close by on Beale Street, the Church makes an outstanding architectural contribution to the Wollaston West/Montclair neighborhood.
BIBLIOGRAPHY and/or REFERENCES
Historical Sketch of the City of Quincy: Illustrated Souvenir. Issued by Quincy Lodge of Elks No. 943, 1924. p. 27-28.
Quincy Patriot Ledger, October 5, 1964. p. 6; July 3, 1965; October 29, 1975.
Vincent J. Scully, Jr. The Shingle Style and The Stick style. Yale University Press, 1971.
Compactly massed under large enveloping slate roofs, St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church is a fine example of a Shingle Style church building. Its style is reflected in the multiplicity of gables, irregular fenestration, either very small or very large and arched, the short square integrated tower which accentuates the horizontality of the structure, unlike the vertical accent of a Gothic Revival church and the use of two walling materials, shingle on the second floor and granite on the ground floor. This use of contrasting materials was one of the distinguishing qualities of many of William Ralph Emerson's large Shingle Style homes he designed, as well as those of Peabody and Stearns, many of them illustrated in "American Architect" in the 1880s. Vincent J. Scully, Jr. in The Shingle Style and The Stick Style writes of Emerson's "plastic continuity of the shingled mass" and of his "development of the sense of natural materials". The architect of this church could well have been influenced by these Shingle Style proponents for the designed a church evoking the picturesque qualities typical of the style with his use of the rough-textured granite complements the rough natural texture of the shingled .The church is an important architectural component in the Wollaston West/Montclair area and will be recommended for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places as a fine example of a late 19th century Shingle Style church.