History of Holyoke's Churches

Congregational Church (South Hadley Falls)

Rev. Bruce Cronmiller, Pastor

      The Congregational Church, South Hadley Falls, was organized August 12, 1824, with 19 members. For a time services were held in the building on North Main street, now known as "The Brick Chapel." In 1835, the church building at the corner of North Main and Carew streets, now owned and occupied by the Methodist Episcopal church, was erected by the Congregationalists.
      In 1860 this church suffered from dissension, and as a result 47 of its 122 resident members withdrew from its fellowship and worship, and organized another church and ecclesiastical society. Their meeting place was the second floor of the building more recently known as "The Palmer House," and in 1864 they built the present Congregational Church. Fortunately in 1878 the two bodies united, the marriage being made easier by the fact that Revs. George Fisher, pastor of the original church, and Richard Knight, pastor of the new organization, both resigned their pastorates.
      Rev. W.S. Hawkes, then pastor of the church at Haydenville, accepted a call to the pastorate of the united church. The Methodists purchased the original Congregational building and the united Congregationalists occupied the present edifice.
      From 1824 to 1828 Rev. Eli Moody preached most of the time, though he was not installed.
      The roll of pastors follows: Rev. John F. Griswold, 1828-1831; Rev. William Tyler, 1832-1838; Rev. William W. Thayer, 1839-1842; Rev. Leander Thompson, 1843-1850; Rev. Porter H. Snow, 1852-1854; Rev. Richard Knight, 1856-1858; Rev. Samuel J.M. Merwin, 1860-1867; Rev. George E. Fisher, 1867-1878; Rev. Winfield S. Hawkes, 1878-1887; Rev. Stephen W. Webb, 1888-1894; Rev. Richard L. Swain, 1894-1900; Rev. G. Walker Fiske, 1900-1903; Rev. Frank E. Butler, 1903-1911; and Rev. Bruce W. Cronmiller, installed in January, 1912. Mr. Cronmiller came to this charge after spending nine years as pastor of a Presbyterian church at Stillwater, N.Y. He received his theological training at Union Theological Seminary. Plans are being made for extensive improvements in the church property, and it is hoped that they will be completed in time for the work of the coming church year.
      In 1904 a thoroughly modern and very attractive parsonage was built.
      The present membership of the church is 332, while that of the Sunday school is 380.
      Church officers: Deacons, A.N. Chapin, J.W. Clark, F.E. Whittemore, J.W. Russell, F.A. Forward, clerk and treasurer, Arthur N. Chapin; deacons emeritus, L.P. Dickenson, Gottlieb Feustel.
      Standing Committee: The pastor, deacons, Sunday school superintendent, with A.W. Hoffman, Ray P. Scott, Mrs. F.S. Judd, and Mrs. F.M. Smith.
      Parish officers: Committee, Charles A. Judd, Arthur S. Gaylord, Ray P. Scott; treasurer, Frank A. Brainard; clerk, Willis H. Wood.
      The Sunday school: Superintendent, F.E. Whittemore.
      The Ladies' Benevolent Society: Acting president, Miss Elizabeth Gaylord.
      Y.P.S.C.E.: President, Peter S. Sinclair.
      Friday Evening Club: President, Miss Bessie C. Lamb.
      Young Men's Club: President, Walter C. Cordes.
      Sexton, Carl H. Lippman.

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