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Harbor Methodist Church (Prospect Street)

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In 1828, the Methodists built the Harbor Methodist Church towards the eastern end of Prospect Street. This was also called the "Church on the Rock," for they followed Matthew's advice and planted it firmly on a granite outcropping. Lane's mother, the widow Sarah Haskell Lane, and his brother Edward Lane were members in high standing of this congregation. In fact, Edward was on its Board of Trustees and served as a steward and a "class leader." Even after the Riverdale Methodist Meetinghouse was built in 1838, on Washington Street overlooking Mill River, and even after the Lanes had sold their house on Middle Street and moved to the old Whittemore house near Oak Grove Cemetery, Edward Lane and his mother continued to be members of the Harbor Methodist Society. Lane’s mother died in 1853, but when Lane painted the 1852 Gloucester Harbor, she and her son were still active members. The ministers in 1851 and 1852 were Rev. Jarvis Wilson and Rev. Linus Fish; there were about 115 members. This building was used as the Harbor's Methodist meetinghouse until 1858, when the society bought and moved into another meetinghouse on Elm Street and sold this building to George H. Rogers for $300. 

It is probable that the church is the Prospect Street Church mentioned in a petition to the Selectmen of Gloucester in January 1859, by citizens who wished that the Town would buy and convert it into a schoolhouse. The building was still standing in 1876 but no longer exists. 

Methodism began in Europe in 1738, came to New York City in 1760, and to Gloucester in 1806. The first meetings in town were in the house of John Edney on the eastern edge of the Mill Pond in the Town Parish (now Riverdale). In 1823, Rev. George Pickering arrived in town and meetings were held in the old first parish meetinghouse at the Green, near the White-Ellery House.

Current address: Southeast corner of Prospect and Taylor Streets.

– Sarah Dunlap (August, 2013)


1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Gloucester Harbor)
H. F. Walling
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Printer. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

Citation: "Historical Materials." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. (accessed July 23, 2024).
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