An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
Universalist (Original) Meeting House (Sargent)
The small barn that shows up on the far left of the photograph below was originally a church. The Universalists came into their own when they completed the elegant steepled church at the west end of Middle St. in 1806, but before this they had met in a simple one-storied building at the corner of Water and Spring Street, what is now on Main Street near the Police Station. This was the first Universalist church building in America, and was erected on the farm of Winthrop Sargent by him and thirteen other Gloucester men. It was used from 1780 until 1806, when it was supplanted by the much larger edifice on Middle Street, and this small building was moved to Pearce farm in Riverdale about where the O'Maley baseball field now is laid out. It was torn down in the 1880s after a hurricane damaged it beyond repair. It was known and venerated during Lane's lifetime, however, as the original Universalist church, and when it was demolished, people were said to have saved and made relics of bits of its wood .
–Sarah Dunlap January 2015
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
View of the Babson Farm taken from Pole's Hill, showing the old Murray Meeting House (rear section of barn), fields and Mill River. In the background is the skyline of the major buildings at Harbor Village, including the first version of City Hall destroyed by fire in 1869.