7. THE TOWN HALL

TOWN HALL Our town hall has probably the most spectacular history of any building in the area. The original meetinghouse, built in 1770, was located by the cemetery, adjacent to where the elementary school stands today. By 1816 the community had outgrown this first meetinghouse, and it was decided to build a replacement. The design chosen closely resembled a number of churches in New England, particularly the church built by Elias Carter located in Templeton, MA.

This beautiful new meetinghouse was short lived, though: nine weeks after the dedication, in the middle of January, it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground (a piece of one beam still exists and sits in the living room of the Blake House). Undaunted, local residents pulled together and rebuilt the meetinghouse, finishing the replacement in 1818. The bell survived the fire, but later cracked and was recast with three hundred silver dollars added to the melt.

At first the meetinghouse was used by several denominations, but eventually the others withdrew and it came to be used solely by the Unitarians. In 1868 religious services were discontinued, and the building was turned over to the town. It was about this time that the meetinghouse was divided into two stories as well. Today, town offices take up the first floor, with the second floor providing a place for the annual town meeting, social events, and until recently, school programs and graduations.
It has been judged the most beautiful Colonial meetinghouse in the State of New Hampshire.



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