The 1889 Capital Campaign

August 16, 1887 letter to the Rev. Gleason from E. Farnsworth of Parker, Wilder, & Co. Commission Merchants with his $250 subscription check.

Fourteen years after the congregation decided that they needed a new building, fundraising for it was still underway. In an effort to complete it, the Rev. Gleason issued a broad appeal for funds to support its construction.

In addition to making personal appeals to the 74 members of his own congregation, Rev. Gleason wrote letters to prominent Bostonians and gave speeches at churches throughout eastern Massachusetts.

He also made personal visits to individual residents of the town of Needham, asking them to contribute to the building fund on the grounds that they had an interest in seeing their town expand, even if they themselves were not church members.

The original letters Rev. Gleason received in response to this broad appeal are preserved in the archives. Although it is not feasible to transcribe them here, I can tell you where the money to build the new church building came from and how it was spent.

Where the Money Came From

Church Members: $6,338.93

Includes donations from:

Peady R. Mills (Mrs. Matthias Mills)

$1,400.00

Joanna E. Mills (Mrs. John Mills)

700.00

Dr. A. Dexter Kingsbury

249.17

Edgar H. Bowers

150.00

Mary E. Bowers (Mrs. Edgar H. Bowers)

100.00

John J. Morgan

100.00

Mrs. D. F. Mann

100.00

Note: Although it was a common practice to rent pews to parishioners, it is not clear from the archives whether that pew rent was used to raise funds for the capital campaign or for the existing chapel.

Neighboring Churches: $2,921.18

Central Congregational Church, Newtonville

$700.00

Harvard Church, Congregational, Brookline

394.82

First Church in Newton, Newton Centre

300.00

Auburndale Congregational Church, Newton

211.89

Shawmut Church, Congregational, Boston

180.86

Second Church in Newton, West Newton

166.73

First Church in Dedham

160.00

Eliot Church, Congregational, Newton

146.00

Waltham Congregational Church

125.00

Brighton Congregational Church

112.05

Wellesley Congregational Church

100.00

Phillips Church, Watertown

100.00

Newton Highlands Congregational Church

77.00

Wellesley Hills Congregational Church

75.00

Berkeley Street Church, Boston

50.24

Allston Congregational Church

21.59

Individuals Affiliated with Other Churches:  $676.00

With the exception of William Carter, none of these donors actually lived in Needham.

Sale of Old Chapel:  $1,905.00

Mortgage Loan from Newton Savings Bank: $5,000.00

Total Raised: $15,841.11


Where the Money Went

Land and Building: $14,580.64

Purchase of 22,000 SF of land

$1,500.00

Architect

190.00

Legal expenses

37.00

Cellar hole and foundation

404.40

Building, including windows, lamps and furnace

11,525.09

Grading, lawn and sidewalk

148.17

Interest and insurance during construction

665.74

Miscellaneous expenses

110.24

Furnishings: $917.97

Pulpit furniture

130.35

Pews (providing 280 seats)

750.00

Moving from old chapel

37.62

Interest and insurance for occupancy period charged to building fund:  $342.50

 

Total Charged to Building Fund: $15,841.11

Source: The History of the Evangelical Congregational Church of Needham, Massachusetts as compiled by Edmund W. Trowbridge, Church Historian, 1957.

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