History

A CHRONOLOGY OF THE UNION MEETING HOUSE

  • 1827 – Various Protestant faiths join together to build a “union” house of worship
  • “at the Corner.” The cornerstone is laid by the local Masonic Lodge.
  • 1828 – The building is completed and Rev. William Draw of Farmington, a Universalist
  • minister gives the dedication. The Company is incorporated by the Secretary of State.
  • 1829 – Pew holders vote to install a “stove and funnel.”
  • 1841 – Based on ownership of the pews, the First Universalist Society is allocated 26
  • Sundays, the First Congregational & Baptist Society, 18 Sundays, and the
  • Congregational Society, eight Sundays.
  • 1851 – Trustees vote to resell pews on which annual fees are delinquent, also vote not to
  • open the building for “public shows, exhibitions or music schools.”
  • 1859 – Vote to purchase “new” bell [from George Holbrook of Medway, MA.].
  • 1860 – The First Universalist Society is authorized to use the building for 18 Sundays,
  • and the Calvinist Baptist and Methodists 17 Sundays each.
  • 1865 – Trustees reaffirm the building is to be opened for religious purposes only. It
  • prohibits the use the Meeting House Common [i.e., grounds] as a playground.
  • Further voted to “bring to justice those despirators [sic] who took the bell and
  • broke the glass”.
  • 1866 – Voted on April 11 that persons, whether pew holders or not, be invited to take
  • part in a discussion on the future of the building. [The first mention that changes
  • were planned under the leadership of former governors Lot and Anson Morrill
  • and Attorney Asa Giles, all Universalists.]
  • 1866-68 – Contract let with Hubert Lovejoy, Auburn architect and decorator, to rebuild
  • the structure in the newest Classical Revival style. Mural decoration entrusted
  • to Charles Schumacher of Portland.
  • 1901 – 1912 – Many meetings on need for repairs. Pew rents not paid, roof leaks,
  • furnace needs repairs. Leon O Tibbetts appointed caretaker and Treasurer.
  • 1913 – First use in records of the word “church” instead of “meeting house.”
  • 1916 – Spire blown off in December storm.
  • 1917 – Only five members attend meeting to discuss steeple problem. Cost of $500 not
  • on hand. Roof also leaks.
  • 1922 – Meeting decides to do necessary repairs and postpone other work.
  • 1930 – Tibbetts presents clock in memory of his mother.
  • 1940s – Religious services become irregular.
  • 1952 – All pew holders and heirs ,notified of a public meeting in July. Voted that all pews deeds
  • be returned to the Company and new by-laws approved to form a non-profit entity that
  • will preserve the Meeting House as a historical site.
  • 1982 – After years of effort, building is placed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
  • 1983-2007 – Restoration is ongoing thanks to local fund-raising and donations. Board becomes
  • inactive as members pass on and are not replaced.
  • 2009 – Board is reconstituted and restoration efforts revitalized. Membership program started.
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