Churches on the Cape

“The opinion generally prevailed, in the 17th century that Maine was peopled by those who were too immoral and irreligious to be allowed to remain in other colonies.” So wrote Kennebunkport historian Charles Bradbury. Before Maine was under Massachusetts rule, Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists, Quakers, etc. removed to Maine to avoid Puritan persecution. So much for their coveted Freedom of Religion. Massachusetts chastised the town of Cape Porpoise repeatedly for not having built an acceptable house of worship. It took a 5.6 magnitude earthquake on October 29, 1727, to finally convince the people of Cape Porpoise to build a church in what is now Cape Porpoise Square.
Kennebunkport, like most small towns has had its share of rival factions. Inhabitants of the more recently populated upper part of town wanted a church nearer to them. Taxpayers of poor Arundel would not vote to support two churches so in 1762 they petitioned-to no avail-to have the church building moved closer to them. The disagreement became very heated. On April 28, 1763, the Cape Porpoise church burned to the ground. At first, the fire was thought by some to be a happy accident, but two boys had been instigated by adults residing in the churchless part of town to commit arson. The awful truth came to light when the sister of one of the boys spilled the beans.
The town refused to prosecute the boys since they had not acted on their own. Charles Bradbury revealed that Cape Porpoise pew owners sued the fathers of the boys to recover the value of the pews, but he did not reveal the names of those involved. The lawsuits exacerbated the rift. In 1768, the town hastily voted to build a new church at Burbank Hill or Town House Corners, as we know it today. Cape Porpoise residents were outraged and declared the vote invalid. After arbitration by disinterested parties from Saco and Wells the church was built at Burbank Hill.
The present Methodist Church on the Cape was built without a steeple in 1857 for $1500. The Steeple was erected in November of 1902. Summer resident Mr. Frank Allen of Cambridge MA presented the church with a fine melodious bell for it that same month. Memorial stained-glass windows were donated in 1908 and 1909 by members of the Nunan family and the Ladies Circle. The Allen family also donated a splendid Howard Clock for the tower in 1910.

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