Restoring a masterpiece
of ecclesiastical architecture
During the evening of August 23, 1966 a traditional axiom was proved false as the steeple of the First Unitarian Church on Benefit Street, Providence, was struck twice by lightning. The structure had recently been completely refurbished in honor of the approaching 150th anniversary of the completion of the building in 1816. The building is considered by many to be Rhode Island architect John Holden Greene’s masterpiece of ecclesiastical architecture.
The damage resulting from fire and water was extensive and insurance covered only part of the damage. As the Church set about raising sufficient funds to restore the church to mint condition, the Foundation granted $10,000 from the Louisa D. Sharpe Metcalf Fund for this restoration; the late Mrs. Metcalf was a proud and active member of the First Unitarian Church.