Smith Baker Center

From Tony Sampas: Since we’re on the subject . . .

6 Responses to Smith Baker Center

  1. PaulM says:

    For anyone wondering where “Smith Baker” comes from, he was for a time the minister of the congregation that occupied the church that is now the “Smith Baker Center.” I used to to think the building was named for two people, like Smith Brothers cough drops or Smith and Baker. There’s a plaque in front that explains the name. He will be properly remembered even if the building name evolves as part of a redevelopment. I’d like to see a photograph of Rev. Smith Baker.

  2. PaulM says:

    The Lowell Historical Society has a Rev. Smith Baker research collection among its papers. Here is the description:

    “Reverend Smith Baker (1836 – 1917) came to Lowell in 1870 and was pastor of the First Congregational Church for over 40 years. He was an avid writer and the collection preserves many of his published sermons and essays covering a wealth of religious and secular topics.”

    Note that Coburn’s “History of Lowell and Its People” (1920) states that he was pastor at Lowell’s First Congregational Church for 20 years, not 40 years, from 1870 to 1890, and then returned as an emeritus pastor after 1908. Coburn includes a biographical sketch of Smith Baker, who was a prolific preacher and writer. In 1920, his widow, Isabelle Ditson Baker, was living at 246 Stevens Street. Their only son, Alvah Smith Baker, married Ida Wright, and was living in Lowell in 1920. Rev. Smith Baker was a descendent of Elder William Brewster from “The Mayflower” (yes, that “Mayflower”). He himself was born in Bowdoin, Maine. He was a graduate of the Bangor Theological Seminary (1860) and later received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Dartmouth College (1891). [Thanks to F. W. Coburn for the facts.]

  3. Tony Sampas says:

    Every rain storm brings more damage to this wonderful building. The City of Lowell DPW needs to wrap the cupola with a tarp until proper repairs can be made.