25 History of First Parish Church on Congress Street in Portland, Maine

The name of the First Parish Church is very appropriate, especially when you learn their past. Fishermen were the earliest Europeans to live in this area in 1633. In 1658, the land was claimed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They named the village Falmouth. These colonists founded a congregation in 1674, the forerunner of this church. After the settlement was destroyed twice – first by the Abenaki people in 1676 and then by the French in 1690 – the colony was abandoned for over a decade. This parish restarted in 1718. They built three successive churches during the 18th century. The 1740 version, called Old Jerusalem, withstood a bombardment of British cannonballs in 1775. Today’s granite facade was finished in 1826. The Simon Willard clock tower dates back to 1802. Miraculously, the First Parish Church was one of the few surviving structures of the city-wide fire in 1866. In short, the First Parish Church is a mirror of Portland’s history.


425 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101


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