The Old Methodist Episcopal Church was inventoried for the Massachusetts Historical Commission along with many other buildings in the late 1960’s by Barry Eager, Katherine Ann Bacon and other members of the Berlin Art and Historical Society. Its MHC ID # is BRL 9. A reference to this listing can be found on MHC’s MACRIS database: http://mhc-macris.net. Much later in 2009, Berlin Center, designated as Area D, was updated with current photographs and a revised data sheet by June Miller and Barry Eager. The Massachusetts Historical Commission declared Berlin Center eligible for nomination as a National Register Historic District. The Old Methodist Episcopal Church is a contributing building to this potential National Register Historic District. The Berlin Historical Commission held a public meeting on October 14, 2009 to inform residents about such a designation and its significance. Preliminary research has been started by the Berlin Historical Commission to review documentation necessary to apply for this nomination.
Built in 1887, the Methodist Episcopal Church is the only building in Berlin that wholly exhibits the Gothic revival style of the Victorian era. Berlin Center itself is a wonderful mix of First Period, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian buildings. The church may have been built according to a pre-existing plan provided by the Methodist Episcopal Church movement as congregations sprang up in rural communities. Two similarly built structures are located in Ferrisburgh, Vermont and Cumberland, Rhode Island.Victorian Gothic styling is exemplified in the church’s steeply gabled tower, applied molding, chamfered corner posts, gable verge boards, copper peak ornaments, a patterned masonry chimney at the northwest corner(removed during renovation), and elongated windows with peaked lintel trim.
Three courses of wall cladding are present from top to bottom, with toothed shingles sloping outward to clapboards at mid-section; fish scale shingles continue at the lower section. Remains of a multi-colored paint scheme survive from 1976, with body colors of white and yellow, red and white trim and green shutters. Decorative windows, one triangular and the other tripartite, are located above the gabled north and south entrances. A round window with club-shaped interior framing faces Carter Street and a round window with interior cross-hatched framing looks out over the building’s back or east side. The original window on the eastern end of the building was stained glass and installed as a memorial to the Woodward brothers in 1924. After the church was sold in 1941, the window was removed and placed in the face of the Echo Organ at the rear of the auditorium in First Parish Church, also located in Berlin Center, Massachusetts.