News
HOURS 
Our Museum is closed for restoration work. We look forward to announcing our reopening soon.
Our new Research Library & Office is at 207 Union Street; please call for an appointment. Regular open hours will be announced soon. 
We are OPEN for public programs (see below).
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NEW!! Voice recordings of two original Natick Historical Society books available on one CD in MP3 format.

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Tuesday, July 17, 1:00-2:00 PM
History Book Club
Everyone welcome to join discussion of The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.
We'll talk about the extraordinary story of "the last true hermit."
At Natick Community-Senior Center.
Sponosred by the Natick Historical Society and the Bacon Free Library.
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For more information on upcoming events, please visit our Events page.

 

Meetinghouse Dispute

As more settlers began to move into the east/central part of Natick, an area called the Needham Leg, the population shift caused a rift in the community. Many people who lived to the north of the old meetinghouse wanted to establish a church in the town center, and they did not support the Natick Indian church in the southern part of town. This dispute continued over a period of almost 60 years. The people in the "Leg" requested the General Court to restore this area of the Natick Plantation to Needham, and this was approved in 1761.

Under the existing jurisdiction of the General Court, the meetinghouse of the original Praying Indians could not be relocated without the Court's approval, so the parish petitioned to become a self-governing town, and to change its name to Eliot. The name change was not granted, but Natick became a town in February 1781. In 1796 it voted to build a new meetinghouse in the town center. The inhabitants of the southern part of town did not want to support the new church and petitioned to be separated from the town. The Court resolved the issue in 1797 by restoring the "Leg" to Natick. The Indian Church dissolved as the congregation dispersed to other parishes and the building fell into disrepair. In 1828 the present Eliot Church was built--the fifth church on the site of the original meetinghouse--and the congregation and South Natick were revitalized.