Christmas one hundred years ago at the Universalist Church of Wakefield

SanctuaryThis undated picture is believed to be the sanctuary of the Universalist Church in Wakefield, taken sometime before 1876. Clearly it was taken at Christmas time as it was decorated with greenery and flowers as churches did in the Victorian era.  Since that time many changes have taken place in this sanctuary. In the late 19th Century the box pews were replaced by bench pews with a central aisle.  

In July 1900 the "Rink Fire" spread to the church from a nearby building formerly used as a skating rink.  The fire damaged the church extensively. In the course of the repairs, the organ was moved to the northeast corner of the church (the left in this picture) and a minister's room was built. In an historical note written for the church's 150th anniversary, Miss Ruth Woodbury wrote that the first stained glass window in the center above the pulpit platform was probably added at this time.

In 1922 more alterations were made. Three rows of pews were removed to provide more space for the pulpit platform. Three arches were built across the front of the sanctuary at that time, giving it the aspect we are familiar with now.  

The stained glass window was replaced in 1940 with the current image of Jesus, the Shepherd. This stained glass window was created by Wilbur Burnham, the noted stained glass artist who had a studio in Wakefield. Mrs. Hubbard Mansfield, a long-time member of the church, donated that window.

Although many changes have taken place since this picture was taken, some things remain the same.  Our sanctuary is once again decorated with greenery and flowers for the holiday season.

For more information on the Bicentennial Celebration of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Wakefield, go to

Event Date: 
Monday, December 17, 2012 - 9:30pm