The pictured postcard is well-known to those who grew up in Jamestown. It is called "The Seven Churches." This was the scene looking down East Third Street from the tower of the old City Hall sometime between 1907 and 1913. Determining the exact date is difficult since the photo used to make the postcard is not in our collection. We know by the back of the card that it was postmarked "1913" and it is a split-back design which began in 1907.
If you look carefully, you can pick out the spires or roofs of the seven churches: starting at the far left: First Baptist, First Congregational, Immanuel Lutheran, First Methodist-Episcopal, First Lutheran, Swedish Evangelical Mission and Swedish Methodist Episcopal. Don't let the last spire to the far right fool you that is the old Jamestown High School building.
By 1913, Jamestown had grown to a population of about 34,000 people (more than today), with 156 manufacturers, two hospitals and 12 newspapers/publications. They also boasted that there was little crime and had more churches per capita than most communities. The 1913-14 City Directory lists 35 churches of various denominations.
The vista looking down East Third Street today shows a completely redesigned traffic pattern and the only original church buildings that are still there and visible would be the First Congregational - now The Spire - and First Lutheran. First Baptist burned in 1914, and other churches in the postcard were demolished. Various church buildings have been used by many different denominations and congregations which makes identifying them difficult.
Imagine trying to document the history of the vast number of churches in Jamestown's past including the present day. It would be quite an undertaking considering how many of the churches moved, changed their names and/or combined congregations. One of Jamestown's native sons and a Fenton History Center member, Thomas J. Goodwill, has compiled information on all of these churches for a new book. He has simply entitled the book, "The Churches of Jamestown, New York" and it is now available at the Fenton Museum Shop. Mr. Goodwill's book and many other local history books are available in the Fenton Museum Shop. They would make a great gift for the history buff in your family.