By 1848, after the railroad from Boston to Lawrence had been opened, quite a number of members of Congregational Churches had become residents of North Malden, and soon religious services began to be held in the home of Dr. Levi Gould on Main Street opposite the present Methodist Church. When the services overflowed Dr. Gould’s, the parlors of Deacon Jonathan Cochrane, on Grove Street, being larger, were used for the services.
On April 25, 1848, Rev. Stillman Pratt began preaching at these services. As the gathering increased, the passenger room at the Boston & Maine Railroad Station on Essex Street began to be used. Here a Sunday School was formed.
Steps were taken to organize a Church at a meeting on May 21, 1848. Articles of Faith and a Covenant were adopted, and the Melrose Orthodox Congregational Church was organized. Reverend Stillman Pratt became the first pastor, being called on May 17, 1849.
Land was bought for a meetinghouse on West Foster Street. The land and the building of a meetinghouse cost $3,500. It was dedicated in 1849, remodeled in 1858, but unfortunately burned down in February 1869. Additional adjoining land was purchased and the cornerstone for a new church was laid in November 1869.
Almost 100 years later, on Thanksgiving Eve 1967, disaster struck again when the church burned. Under the leadership of our Senior Minister (1949-1979), Reverend Clarence (“Chuck”) W. Fuller, services continued to be held at several locations, including Memorial Hall, until a new building was built. It was dedicated on Pentecost Sunday, May 17, 1970. The architecture of the building was a drastic change from the former one. It is the octagonal shape of a tabernacle with the sanctuary at the center of the building, symbolic of worship being at the center of our lives. Reverend Fuller was also the leading force behind our Church’s development of 322 affordable housing units for senior citizens in Melrose. The Congregational Retirement Homes; the Levi Gould, Jonathan Cochrane, and Fuller House, are each named after faithful leaders in our Church’s history.