Built in 1732, the United Church of Christ Congregational in Burlington, Mass., is one of the oldest religious structures in Massachusetts. Only a small number of pre 19th-century church buildings still exist today.
At the time, church and state had not been separated yet, and all residents of Massachusetts Bay were mandated by law to attend. But this settlement area was far away from the closest meetinghouse. The Woburn church was difficult to get to, considering this area was still largely undeveloped.
So locals petitioned the court to create their own parish, and after five long years, they were granted permission in 1730.
According to the church website’s history page, the following describes the early structure:
“It was a very plain, almost square building, fifty feet long, forty feet wide, and twenty-three feet from sill to plate. …. It was not wholly completed for several years but was put to use at once.
The building had no steeple and no bell to call parishioners to worship. The windows were casements with diamond-shaped panes set in sashes of lead. Square panes in double hung sashes were installed in 1794. There were no pews at first, only long wooden benches on either side of an aisle which separated the women who sat to the East from the men who sat to the West.“