Lowell Community Church, built in 1892, was a landmark religious structure and a source of pride in the community.
Most of the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters were called at 4:37 a.m., fire Battalion Chief Larry Dressel told Herald reporter Jim Haley.
From the 29-year-old issue of The Herald:
"Flames were roaring out of where these beautiful, large stained glass windows were in front. The flames were rolling out of there probably 20 feet," Dressel said. "We figured it was a total loss when we got there."
Dressel said the sanctuary area on the top floor was engulfed in flames, but it appeared the fire hadn't reached nearby rooms. He said he decided to try to extinguish the fire from the inside.
"We got inside for probably three or four minutes" before the crew backed out to change fire lines, Dressel said.
"As we backed out, the roof came in, boom, right where we were standing. That's our New Year's present. I guess," Dressel said.
No one was injured in the fire, but it did displace about 45 parishioners and even more local residents who used the church as a community center.
Investigators determined the fire was accidental.
This year, the town of Lowell celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Herald reporter Theresa Goffredo called it "a colorful 150 years of history that includes major industrial changes, a sensational ax murder and some of the finest jewels in Craftsman architecture."
Read more from the Dec. 31, 1984 issue of The Herald and others in our collection of historic front pages.
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