Historic New England protects one of the country's most significant ecclesiastical buildings
DORCHESTER, MASS. – December 2013 – All Saints Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts, is the latest historic property protected through an easement held by Historic New England’s Stewardship Easement Program. It is the third ecclesiastical property protected by the program, joining Old West Church and the Charles Street Meetinghouse – both on Boston’s Beacon Hill.
The Reverend Michael J. Godderz of the Parish of All Saints stated, “The Parish of All Saints is delighted not only with our ability to complete the thorough and sensitive rehabilitation of our historic building, but also with the extra layer of assurance that our easement agreement with Historic New England will bring to its preservation and to our ongoing stewardship.”
All Saints Church, designed by Ralph Adams Cram, was constructed of granite with sandstone trim between 1892 and 1929 and consists of a nave with flanking aisles, tower, chancel, two small side chapels, and a projecting cloister with an attached parish house. The congregation held its first service in the new building on December 27, 1893.
Considered to be Cram’s first major architectural commission, the design of All Saints was a complete departure from the Anglican churches of the period. Recognized for its innovative and inspirational design, All Saints established Cram’s reputation as a major architect and influenced the design of Anglican church architecture in the United States for the next fifty years. Over the subsequent years, Cram’s career as an architect has been praised and the significance of All Saints has increasingly been recognized as one of the most country’s significant religious buildings.
In 1980, in recognition of its architectural significance, All Saints was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but the church has no local protection against demolition or insensitive alteration. The preservation easement protects the exterior facades of the church and parish hall. The easement also protects important interior elements, including built-in furniture, woodwork, stonework, and important examples of religious and devotional ornamentation. All Saints is in the midst of a substantial rehabilitation to restore the church to its original grandeur. This easement, donated by the Parish of All Saints, will ensure its long-term preservation and that it continues to be an asset to its community. Restoration project updates and photographs are on the church's webpage.
About Historic New England’s Stewardship Easement Program
The Stewardship Easement Program administers preservation easements held by Historic New England, which protect privately owned historic properties across New England. The program creates partnerships between property owners and Historic New England with the shared goal of preserving a property's historic character. By donating an easement, an owner entrusts Historic New England with the responsibility of working with present and future owners to protect important historic elements from alteration or neglect. To date, the program holds eighty-nine easements, which protect more than 150 buildings and more than 750 acres of land across five New England states. Historic New England is committed to protecting all domestic building types representing New England from the seventeenth century to the present. Visit www.HistoricNewEngland.org/Stewardship for more information about the program.