The Village of Graniteville & Charles G. Sargent
In his History of Westford (1883), Rev. Edwin R. Hodgman says of Graniteville, “this village owes its existence to its water power and to the building of the railroad in 1847… Its development is chiefly due to one man who came there in 1854.”
That man was Charles G. Sargent, who moved from Lowell to begin both his machine shop and, with John W. P. and John W. Abbot, the Abbot Worsted Company. The village grew rapidly with the growth of these industries.
"There should be preaching regularly in Graniteville"
As early as 1852, the villagers voted “to have the School House opened for public worship.” Over the next several years occasional worship services were held in Graniteville led by ministers from the two churches in Westford Center and from neighboring towns. In 1869 Mr. Sargent remarked “that there should be preaching regularly in Graniteville, and that he would pay liberally toward its support.”
This remark was passed on to leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Lowell, and a young ministerial student from Boston University was appointed to start a church in Graniteville. Miner H. A. Evans, our first pastor, preached his first sermon in the old district schoolhouse on Sunday, July 4, 1869. “The congregation filled the room to its fullest capacity, and many stood in the ante-room and others around the windows, it being very warm. It should be mentioned that there was not at that time a Methodist in the place."
Construction began on our Gothic style church in 1870, on land donated by Mr. Sargent. The first service in the new building was held in the vestry (the large room formerly located beneath the present balcony) on November 20, the main auditorium being still under construction. The new church was formally dedicated on Wednesday, March 22, 1871 to a large gathering, including many from Lowell who arrived by train.
Thanks to Mr. Sargent, there is "preaching regularly in Graniteville"
Through the good times and the hard times, our church has prospered. For most of our existence we were led by student pastors from Boston University School of Theology. They and their wives brought God’s word to the people of Graniteville, served us for a year or two, and typically moved on to distinguished service in the Methodist Church.
2000-2001 Building Expansion
With the rapid growth of our membership in the 1990s, we outgrew our sanctuary, and the Old Parsonage was no longer adequate to support our growing Sunday School. In 2000-2001 the church entered on a major capital improvement program that reversed the sanctuary by 180º, added a balcony over the old vestry, raised a new educational wing, and moved the Old Parsonage to River Street. It was also during this renovation project that the church had to remove its steeple due to some water leakage.
Our Mission Continues
“We are a Christian community committed to growing by God’s spirit." We continue to move forward in the service of the people of Westford, the surrounding communities, and the greater world.