History

The First Congregational Church, established in 1639, coincident with Yarmouth's founding, was Yarmouth's official church during colonial times when a church was required for a community to be incorporated.  Originally located in what we now call Ancient Cemetery on a site presently marked by a large rock, the church was constructed of logs, measured 30 x 40 feet, had 13.5 foot posts, a thatched roof, and windows made of paper soaked with whale oil.  Members were called to service by the beat of a drum as there was no bell.

This is a newspaper photo of the church that was built in 1830.  When the church moved to a new location, this building served as a general store and post office.  The first church building was made of logs, had a thatched roof, and windows made of paper soaked with whale oil.

While this building was adequate for the founding congregation, Yarmouth prospered and flourished.  Soon the congregation outgrew this small building.  In 1716 a larger church was built near the first one but in 1766 more space was needed.  Rather than constructing yet another totally new building, the church was cut in half and a section 15 feet long was inserted.  Improvements made included glass windows, a communion table, a deacon's bench, and a new steeple.  Reverend Timothy Alden, a descendent of John Alden of the Mayflower, was minister at that time. Serving the congregation for fifty-nine years, Alden, who lived to age 92, was much appreciated for his literary skill and ministry.  Some of his epitaphs can be seen on grave markers in the Ancient Cemetery.  He started the first Sabbath school and ministered to Native Americans.

Along with the nation in general and Cape Cod in particular, Yarmouth continued to grow as did the Church's congregation.  To meet needs of the expanded congregation, a new church was built in 1830, this time in a new location, the site of today's playground at the intersection of Route 6A and Old Church Street in Yarmouth Port.  In 1870, as the congregation continued its expansion, yet another church was erected, this time on Zion Hill, our present location.  The old church building continued service as a general store and post office until it burned to the ground in 1902.

Yarmouth's Congregational Church today is 70 feet long, 45 feet wide, and has a 135-foot-high steeple, which can be seen from Cape Cod bay and which served as a navigational aid for clipper ship captains.  Music played on a pipe organ built in 1892 can be heard during services.  The First Congregational Church of Yarmouth continues to be one of the area's outstanding landmarks.

 


From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

                                  Acts 17:26