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Grace Episcopal Church

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1867–1869, Henry Hobson Richardson; 1927, Charles Dunham; 1957, Arlan Dirlan. 160 High St.
  • Grace Episcopal Church (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

In this earliest known surviving building by H. H. Richardson, the architect's interpretation of the Gothic Revival is no more Gothic than his later Romanesque designs were Romanesque. The Grace Episcopal Church commission was probably won with the aid of Shepherd Brooks, a Harvard classmate and influential resident of Medford. The use of the glacial stone, perhaps suggested by Mrs. Brooks, combined with granite for the walls document Richardson's early interest in unconventional masonry treatments, seen especially in the tall nubby tower and steeple. Equally nontraditional are the proportions of the pointed arched windows and doors, which are unusually broad with thick granite voussoirs. Contrary to the typical soaring verticality of Gothic architecture, the design for Grace Church is Gothic only in its architectural vocabulary. A Sunday school addition was made on the south side in 1882, and the interior redecorated in 1883. Two twentieth-century additions to the south side followed. Viewed from High Street, however, the Richardson design remains unaltered. John La Farge designed a stained glass window in the south wall in memory of Ellen Shepherd Brooks.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


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Keith N. Morgan, "Grace Episcopal Church", [Medford, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 410-410.

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