A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
In 1830 one Edward A. Newton assembled a group of interested people on June 25 in Pomeroy’s Coffee House on Park Square to form an Episcopal congregation. Pittsfield was a community of about 3500 people. Massachusetts citizens were still taxed by the state to support the congregational Church, the official “recognized” religion. Park Square was dominated by the famous Elm tree (Which survived until 1864) and by a splendid congregational church designed by Charles Bullfinch.
Two years after the historic July meeting, a new Town Hall and the first St. Stephen’s were completed adjacent to each other.
Our first church building, a beautiful stone Gothic structure, sat astride what is now Allen Street. A stone tower and stained glass windows were added about 1850. Two windows are restored and on display in our entrance. The 1832 Town Hall still exists next door.
In 1889 the stone Gothic church was demolished to make room for a larger church.
THE PRESENT BUILDING
The present church was built in 1889-90 under the Rectorship of The Rev. William Wilberforce Newton, whose portrait now hangs in the Narthex. The mortgage was paid by 1892, and the church consecrated by the eminent bishop Phillips Brooks, author of the universally known Christmas carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Built of Longmeadow red sandstone in the “Tudor Gothic” style, the present building was designed to satisfy people theologically and emotionally oriented toward the Church of England. Gothic architecture expressed a romantic desire to “make a church look like a church.”
In 1984 a much-needed renovation was completed, including moving the altar forward to its present freestanding position, extending the altar rail, and adding the beautiful marble floor in the sanctuary.
As part of the centennial celebration of the consecration of this building, the Narthex (or entryway) was redecorated in 1993-94 to make it more “Visitor Friendly.” In 1997 an elevator was added to make the church more accessible.
Read more about our stained glass windows here.