47 Aurora St. (1865), The First Congregational Church​

  • <p>Aurora Street, view north, ca. 1870. General photograph collection, Hudson Library &amp; Historical Society (P.04.00.00101)​</p>
  • <p>​Congregational Church, view northeast. General photograph collection, Hudson Library &amp; Historical Society (P.04.00.00480)​</p>
  • <p>Postcard, Congregational Church. General photograph collection, Hudson Library &amp; Historical Society (P.04.00.00492)​</p>
  • <p>Photograph (carte-de-visite), Owen Brown. Tax revenue stamp on reverse, ca. 1864-1866.​</p>
  • <p>Washington, Augustus. John Brown, 9, May 1800-2 December 1859. Photograph: Quarter-plate deguerreotype. National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.96.123​</p>

The First Congregational Church was founded in 1802 by 13 charter members, including town founder David Hudson (1761-1836). Services were first held in a log cabin on the south green, which also doubled as the town schoolhouse. The first church building was erected in 1820 at the site of the present Town Hall (27 E. Main Street). The 1820 building was said to be the first church in the Western Reserve to have a bell. Dr. Moses Thompson (1776-1858), the area’s first physician (who also happened to deal in the cheese trade) traveled to Pittsburgh with his wagon loaded with cheese, the proceeds of which he used to purchase the church's first bell. ​

Abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859), another church member, famously vowed during an 1837 prayer meeting at this church that he would dedicate his life to abolishing slavery. In 1836, the Church became involved in the slavery debate, which eventually divided the congregation. While most of the congregation felt that slavery should be abolished, the congregation disagreed over what should happen to the freed. A group of 11 members, including John Brown’s father Owen Brown (1771-1856) left the church and formed the Free Congregational Church. Most of the members eventually returned in the 1850s.​

Simeon Porter (1807-1871), famed local architect, built and designed the present church at 47 Aurora Street in 1865. John W. C. Corbusier (1878-1928) designed the 1919 addition. The bronze steeple bell was purchased for $500 and transported from New York in a horse-drawn wagon. The white circles on the steeple were most likely placeholders for a clock.