Nameless Coffeehouse

The First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church houses the Nameless Coffeehouse, the oldest donation-only coffeehouse in New England. The church was rebuilt in 1900 to its current design, but there was a great divide in the congregation as to the style of the building, whether it should be gothic or colonial, and made out of stone or brick.

The majority favored the gothic style as it was seen as “more religious,” but some favored the colonial style as it fit in better with Unitarian values. In the end, the majority voted for the gothic style by 139 to 98 for colonial, and architects, Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, set about building it. The building opened in 1902.

The Nameless Coffeehouse opened in 1966 as a place for well-known and up-and-coming folk musicians and comedians to further their careers. Famous musicians like Tracy Chapman, Patty Larkin, John Gorka, and Dar Williams, as well as famous comedians like Jay Leno and Andy Kaufman have all performed at the Nameless Coffeehouse. What makes the Nameless unique is that volunteers run everything. Even the audience helps clean up after the show. A show at the Nameless consists of 4 to 5 acts with short sets. When the coffeehouse first opened, shows took place every week. Today though, the coffeehouse takes place every month. Despite having fewer shows, the Nameless Coffeehouse continues its legacy of performing folk music, providing a stage for new and established artists.    

Image courtesy of The Nameless Coffeehouse