The 1836 South Harwich Meetinghouse, still standing on its original site, is an exemplary model of early Greek and Gothic design. The building still retains its original simplicity, with separate entrances for men and women. Founded and profoundly influenced by Amasa Nickerson (1778-1863), a most successful ship owner and sea captain, the Meetinghouse stood close to a thriving fishing and shipping wharf at the end of Deep Hole Road in South Harwich.
The entire population of Harwich during this period consisted of only 1400 people with 75 living in South Harwich.
During the growth of South Harwich as a prosperous fishing community, the Meetinghouse quickly became an important center for worship and social activity. More than 150 sea captains and fisherman attended services during the early days.
Through the years, the meetinghouse stood fast through times of prosperity and struggle. During the later 19th Century, funds were raised to fully redecorate the sanctuary in the 1880’s and again in 1896. Christmas festivities were celebrated with elaborate music concerts and decorations. Most notably, Captains Otis Nickerson, S.T. Nickerson and O.V. Harding, provided their handmade three dimensional ship which was displayed holding gifts for the congregation during the Christmas season. Church membership gradually dwindled due to an aging population and eventually succumbed to inadequate funding. It was merged with the East Harwich Methodist Church in 1979.
The Meetinghouse, along with the surrounding cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, through the great efforts of the Harwich Historical Commission and Rufus Walker. Following temporary use by church groups, the building was purchased by the Town of Harwich in 1996 for stabilization and preservation. The Meetinghouse, owned by the Town of Harwich, is under License Agreement with the Friends of the South Harwich Meetinghouse, Inc. Over the past 13 years the Friends have completed a comprehensive restoration project, returning the Meetinghouse to its original 1836 splendor. Restoration finally finished, today the Friends are currently developing and directing the Meetinghouse as a fine Center for Cultural Arts, Performance, Education and community gathering.