When Hancock was first born it consisted of only a dozen blocks bordered on the west by Montezuma Street (currently anchored by the city hall building featured previously) and to the east by Reservation Street and the deep ravine carrying the Quincy Tram. For the villages first few decades of existence this eastern border along Reservation was occupied only by the community’s fire hall (on the site currently occupied by the Scott Hotel) and a single residence (a house that continues to stand to this day, at the corner of Reservation and Hancock streets). It wouldn’t be until 1889 that the street would receive its newest resident – the Suomalainen Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Suomalainen is the a Finnish word that means roughly “of Finland” if used as an adjective or simply “Finn” when used as a noun. This would make the church in question the “Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church”. My knowledge of Finnish religiosity is a little sketchy, but from what I’ve learned there were four major “branches” of Finnish Lutheran churches: the National Lutheran Church of Finland, the Apostolic Lutheran Church, the “old” Apostolic Lutheran Church, and the Suomi Synod. I believe this particular building was once part of the Suomi Synod branch. But I could be wrong.
The only thing I know for sure is that this particular structure was built in 1889 and its nameplate is written in Finnish. Currently the building is unoccupied, but I was sure it was still an operating church back when I was in college.
The church is faced in brick and built atop a rather robust sandstone foundation. It stands 22 feet high and sports a 50 foot spire on its south-west corner. Its design follows what I would call a relaxed gothic, with a somewhat eastern influenced sensibility. Though not gorgeous by any means, it does seem to have a air of old-world charm about it that sets it apart from it contemporary neighbors.
The front door sits next to the church’s spire, facing out towards Franklin Street. A pair of rather impressive doors sit below a multiple-arched transom decorated with stained glass inlays.
Here’s a closer look at one of those stained glass inlays in the transom. I’m not sure what its suppose to be, but it does seem somewhat eastern in design.
While the doors are cool in their own right, the inclusion of this lion knocker just completes the whole ensemble. More old world charm.
Close up the tower is rather dull really, but an interesting detail is the use of angled buttresses on the tower’s corners (seen at the bottom of the pic). Most interesting about those buttresses is the way they are melded with the tower itself using an interlocking line of bricks.
Those unique interlocking bricks can be seen better in this shot, along with a closer look at another one of the church’s stained glass windows. The use of stained glass in what appears to be a simple double hung window is rather odd to me.
Here’s one of the building’s nave windows, showing a bit of its age I’m afraid. The sandstone ledge is a nice touch, as is the arched brickwork along the window’s top. The place defiantly needs a fresh paint job.
And next door we have one of the large windows overlooking the alter flanked by a pair of narrow buttresses. This window looks down White Street.
And here’s a look at that massive sandstone foundation on which the church sits. Due to the steep incline on which the church sits, this foundation grows in size as it moves forward to the church’s front facade.
Here’s a better look at that sandstone foundation, this time at its most impressive size along the building’s front facade. When the church was first built it would have had a commanding view out over the Portage Valley, but today stares at the adjacent Hotel Scott’s backside.