During the late 1850s, musical interests in the Machias area were quite strong. Our first pastor, Rev. James Lyon, known as "America's first hymnodist," and later William Bradbury, a noted composer and organist, helped shape Centre Street's musical heritage.
When the Centre Street Ladies Circle decided that the church needed a pipe organ, they changed their name to the Organ Society and labored for almost a decade raising funds. When the Civil War ended, they paid $2,300 to George Stevens, an organ builder from East Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a tracker action organ to be transported to Machias by boat.
A dedication concert was held in May of 1867, and the organ has remained in continuous use since that time. The case is built of chestnut, with a simple Gothic front consisting of a center arch with pinnacles in Greek crosses. The organ stood in the rear of the church until 1889, when an apse was built behind the pulpit to accommodate the organ and choir. The organ was hand pumped by young boys until 1933, when an electric blower was installed.
In early 1870, the town of Machias voted to purchase a town clock, and by November the clock had been installed in the tower of Centre Street Church. Built by E. Howard and Company of Boston, the clock has four ornamental dials that are seven feet in diameter.
For many years, the town clock kept "God's time," based on the sun's position over Machias each June 21 at noon, but eventually the town accepted the national time zones and eastern standard time.
The machinery of this eight-day clock, which is wound twice each week, is a striking piece of mechanical engineering involving two weights running on perpendicular wooden tracks. The larger weight, which rings the bell on the hour, weighs 1,450 pounds and requires 166 turns of a crank to wind all the way up its 31-foot track. Sitting on a shorter 21-foot track is the smaller 450-pound weight, which keeps the lead pendulum swinging and requires 75 turns of a crank to fully wind.
In 1836, Captain Stephen Longfellow purchased an authentic Paul Revere bell for Centre Street's new church building. Acquired from a church in Boston and noted for its clear, mellow tones, this is one of only about a hundred Revere bells still in existence.
Measuring 33 inches from top to bottom and 38 inches in diameter at the base, it's smaller than some other Revere bells. The bell tolled on the hour and was also rung for worship services, special town occasions, and to alert local residents about fires. An ordinance still exists on the town books declaring a fine of two dollars for misuse of the bell.
First three Sundays in the sanctuary and streamed on Zoom.
Fourth Sundays exclusively on Zoom.
January and February – All services on Zoom.