This postcard shows the original St. Joachim’s Catholic Church on Broadway in Rockport. It was built in 1856 and stood until 1947, when it was razed to make room for construction of the larger church that now stands on the site. A 1947 newspaper article described it as the “church quarry men built,” a reference to the Irish immigrants who came to Rockport starting as early as 1830 to work in the quarries and who gave the town its first population of Catholics.
Starting in 1850, the number of the town’s Catholics had grown large enough that a priest from Salem would visit Rockport and say mass in local halls and homes. The church was built in 1856 as a one-story building level with the ground. It cost $3,000 to build. Twenty-five years later, the church was raised six feet, its roof was slanted, a new altar was installed, and new red stain glass windows were added. These improvements cost $3,600. The church remain unchanged from then until 1936, when a new heating plant was put in. In 1946, it was repainted and new lighting fixtures were installed.
When it was torn down, it was one of the oldest Catholic churches in use in the Boston diocese, second only to St. John’s Church in Quincy, built in 1853. While the new church was being built, masses were held in the auditorium of the old high school on Broadway. The current church, built at a cost of $65,000, was formally dedicated in August 1948.
The postcard was published by Tichnor Brothers Inc., a Boston publishing company. It has no date. Tichnor was in business from 1912 to 1987. By comparing the style of the front and back sides of this card to others from this publisher, this appears to be from its early years, in the 1912-1920 range.