19th century photo of the New Church showing the original exterior.

19th century photo of the New Church showing the original exterior.

“The most significant historic public structure
of its period on Cape Cod”
— Sara Jane Porter, architect

 

Our Mission

The Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation is a non-religious, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historically registered former church on Yarmouth Port common as a vibrant cultural center for public benefit and use. 


The founding date on the bell in the tower. William Blake who cast the bell had been an apprentice to Paul Revere in Boston.

The founding date on the bell in the tower. William Blake who cast the bell had been an apprentice to Paul Revere in Boston.

 

The Building

The building, also known as the Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian), was constructed in 1870. One of the finest surviving examples of American gothic architecture in New England, it was designed by the Boston architect Samuel Thayer, and constructed by local builder John Hinckley. The interior features gothic arches, spectacular frescoes and the original tracker pipe organ by William Horatio Clarke.

By the latter part of the twentieth century the church congregation had dwindled and the building had fallen into extreme disrepair.

 
The reconstructed bell tower ready to be lifted back on to the church.

The reconstructed bell tower ready to be lifted back on to the church.

Here is a video presentation that was created just after the tower had been restored and has some great footage of the damage in The Audience Room that has since been restored. It also includes some excellent footage of the Tower being reinstated. It also provides a quick overview of the church's founding and construction. (many thanks to Chrysalis Video for the footage!).

 

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The Organization

In 1998, a group of concerned citizens founded the Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation, in order to save the dangerously deteriorating building.

The Foundation subsequently became registered as a Massachusetts charitable corporation and a federal IRS 501 c(3) non-profit organization. The Foundation has no religious affiliation whatsoever.

The Foundation is run by an all-volunteer board of directors representing the Cape Cod community.  Maintenance of the building and improvements are primarily funded through Annual Contributions made by Friends of the Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation, donations, and ticket sales from cultural programs.

The building is available for weddings, memorial services and special events. The Foundation co-operates with the other historical organizations on the Yarmouth Port Common and throughout the community. 


Scaffolding fills The Audience Room during the restoration of the frescoes.

Scaffolding fills The Audience Room during the restoration of the frescoes.

Restoration & Preservation

The Foundation has worked with the community to complete many ambitious preservation projects over the years. It has undertaken the complete repair and restoration of the exterior including reconstruction of the bell tower, the cleaning and restoration of the original stained glass windows, cleaning and restoration of the original egg tempera frescoes in The Audience Room, and bringing water and restrooms to the building for the first time since it was built. 

The final major project involves the installation of a HVAC system that will enable us to accommodate the community in climate controlled comfort for year round events, and the addition of handicap access to the Audience Room. We look forward to the support of the Yarmouth voters as we enter the final round of town meeting approval for the grant that will fund these projects this month, we hope to be starting this critical work in the summer of 2019.


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Programs & Events

The Foundation aims to provide the entire community with a space which is fit to host a wide range of functions, events, and cultural programs. 

Our long-standing association with The NewEngland Conservatory has brought five seasons of world-class music to our corner of Cape Cod. Local musicians have taken advantage of a performance space that has come to be recognized as one of the best for live music on the Cape. 

And down in The Great Room Gallery we have been building a reputation as one of the most generous gallery spaces with exhibits showcasing local artists working in all media and a focus on providing opportunities for kids to learn and participate in the making of art.

 

 

What We've Achieved

  • Restoration of the bell tower and belfry.

  • An upgrade to the electrical service.

  • Exterior painting

  • Renovation of the east and west walls.

  • Renovation of the stained glass windows.

  • Re-roofing.

  • Installation of heating and cooling units in the Great Room.

  • Alterations to the front and east end stairwells to comply with the fire code.

  • Construction of a handicapped ramp for access to the ground level Great Room.

  • Installation of a sound and lighting system in the upstairs Audience Room.

  • Introduction of water service and the addition of a septic system and two handicapped-accessible restrooms.

Our beautiful Blake and Co. of Boston bell was made in 1870 by the first foundry to cast chimes in America.

Our beautiful Blake and Co. of Boston bell was made in 1870 by the first foundry to cast chimes in America.