North Avenue Congregational Church

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North Avenue Congregational Church
North Avenue Congregational Church (now known as Prospect Hall, and previously as Old Cambridge Baptist Church and North Prospect Congregational Church) is an historic church meetinghouse at 1803 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is currently owned by Lesley University.

History of ownership
The church was originally built in 1845 on Kirkland Street near Harvard Square, for the Old Cambridge Baptist Church congregation, to designs by local architect Isaac Melvin. It was sold to the North Avenue Congregational Society in 1866 at which time it was renamed the North Avenue Congregational Church. In 1867 it was moved up Massachusetts Avenue to its current location. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and sold to Lesley University in 2006. The upper level is used as an auditorium by the college and the lower level is leased out.

Design
The building's simple, rectangular plan was originally four bays deep with a tall, multi-stage spire surmounting a projecting entrance portico; it then resembled Charles Bulfinch's New South Church in Boston (1814) though in Greek Revival form with Egyptian columns. The addition of a chancel and transepts in 1872 created a cruciform plan. The original three-stage tower and spire, similar to that of the New South Church, was damaged in a storm, and in 1906 its upper two round stages and spire were replaced with a square belfry and a copper dome. Today's eight-faceted spire was built in 1964 after the dome was struck by lightning and caught fire, and now only the pedimented first stage of the original steeple remains.