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Ryan Hutton/ The Haverhill Gazette
New plaza built in place of once Armenian Church in Haverhill
2019-01-25 13:23:10

A new plaza containing a Domino's Pizza shop, a dental office and other small businesses has been built in the place of an Armenian Church in Haverhill, The Haverhill Gazette reports.

The church was demolished in June 2017 to make way for the businesses.

For nearly 160 years, a church stood at Main and Winter streets. Unitarians worshiped in that now-demolished white wooden building during its early years. The city's Armenian community purchased the building in the middle of the 20th century and St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church was a fixture there for many years.

A small stone memorial reminded of the Armenian Genocide and offered a testimony as to why so many Armenians fled their homes in early 20th century and settled in the Merrimack Valley.

The church congregation moved to its new home at 1280 Boston Road. The Armenian Church at Hye Pointe combined St. Gregory the Illuminator Church with Holy Cross Armenian Church of Lawrence. The Lawrence congregation needed a new home. The two parishes officially merged in 2002. It was the first such merger to take place within the Armenian Apostolic Church in America.

The new parish purchased the 9-acre site off Boston Road in the city's Ward Hill section. Parishioners decided to sell the church building at Main and Winter streets and use the proceeds to pay for the new church.

It took 15 years to sell the building and erect the new church. Nearly a decade ago, Burger King tried to put a fast food restaurant at the church location. The city's Board of Appeals rejected that plan in 2010.

In 2016, the church congregation finally found a buyer who demolished the church and built the new business plaza in its place.

Meanwhile the construction of a new Armenian church at Hye Pointe in Haverhill started in December 2017.