St. Joseph's Church, 1899

  • St. Joseph's Church, 1899
  • "Prior to July 1851, South Reading Catholics were accustomed to traveling to Lynn to attend Mass, and sick calls were attended from St. Mary's Church in Boston. The first Catholic Mass in South Reading was heard at the Junction home of Malachy Kenney with 'between 200 and 300' people in attendance, most coming from surrounding communities. The following day, using $600 collected at the Mass for the purpose of securing a church lot, Rev. Thomas H. Shahan purchased a 150' x 80' piece of land on Albion Street. While work on the church was in progress, Mass was celebrated once a month, usually in a private home, although it was officiated twice in the town hall. The first church stood 100' from the railroad tracks and faced Albion Street. With the increase in the number of Catholics, additional land was purchased for a new church building which was dedicated on November 9, 1890. Constructed of wood, with a tall spire surmounted by a gilded cross, the church could seat about 1200 people, including the space in the two galleries of the main body and in the easterly gallery where the organ was located. There were three altars, the central one resplendent with white and gold memorial windows (the gift of individuals and societies) stained glass windows massive pillars and ornate decorations of fresco work. St. Joseph's Church was destroyed by a general alarm fire in March, 1977. A new church building was dedicated with a Mass on June 27, 1980." -- Text from calendar by Jayne M. D'Onofrio.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1995
  • Photo from a souvenir booklet published by the church in 1899.
  • 1899
  • [Wakefield, Mass.] : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“St. Joseph's Church, 1899,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed September 29, 2020,


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