The First Parish Church and the Allin Congregational Church dominate the small Dedham Common at the intersection of High and Court streets. A split in the congregation of the established church led to these two traditional meetinghouses. The frame for the original 1762 meetinghouse is buried within the First Parish Church (674 High Street) on the west side of the Common. The 1819 division led to the construction of a new church (683 High Street) on the north side of High Street opposite the existing meetinghouse. A year later, in 1820, the old building was extensively enlarged and remodeled so that it faced the Common rather than the breakaway church. The original congregation retained the name of the First Parish Church; the breakaway church became Congregational in 1876. As completed in 1819 and 1820, the two buildings demonstrate variations on a church design published by Asher Benjamin in 1798, differing only in details and showing how different builders adapted the most popular Federal Period church design in New England. Jacob Clarke, a member of the congregation and probably the architect, built the Allin Congregational Church. The designer attributed to the First Parish Church is Eliphalet Baker, another housewright.
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Dedham Common Churches
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