This is the South Congregational Church in Springfield, MA. The congregation first started meeting in 1842 and constructed this lovely building in 1875. The person who gave the largest amount of money to pay the costs of this now-historic structure was Daniel Baird Wesson, who happened to live across the street.

D.B. Wesson also happened to own a gun company named Smith & Wesson. From the front of the church you can see the eastern side of the S&W factory, which is located one block from the church on Stockbridge Street.  Here is what the factory building looks like viewed from the entrance to the South Congregational Church.


The Smith & Wesson factory on Stockbridge Street no longer makes guns; the plant moved out to its present location on Roosevelt Avenue in East Springfield in 1968. The Stockbridge factory is now an apartment complex which looks like this:


If Daniel Baird Wesson was still alive and walked out of his mansion on Maple Street and looked across the street at the church whose construction he endowed, he would see this sign on the front steps:


This is a banner that members of the congregation displayed outside of the current Smith & Wesson factory on March 24, but were not allowed to leave behind at the factory gate. So they have turned it into a display in front of the church, where I happened to see it the other day.

The Stockbridge Street factory is gone, so is D.B. Wesson’s mansion, but the issue of gun violence remains. And as long as there are people willing to address the issue the way it is being addressed outside of the South Congregational Church, there is a chance that gun violence will be reduced.