ATHENS, Vt. – The Athens Brick Meetinghouse is having our first summer weekend open house Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Meetinghouse will be open for visitors to tour and learn more about this interesting 1817 building. There will also be a bake and plant sale, with all proceeds going to support continued renovation and upkeep needs of the building.
The Athens Brick Meetinghouse is on the National Register. It is historically significant to the Windham County region, and particularly the other 12 towns – Grafton, Rockingham, Townshend, Londonderry, Weston, Chester, Acton, Springfield, Landgrove, Windham, Putney, and Mount Holly – which comprised the Old Athens Circuit. Circuit preachers from Athens traveled out to these 12 towns to perform religious services. Quarterly meetings with the Methodist congregants from these towns often lasted two days at the Athens Meetinghouse, which came to be known as the Mother Church.
The building was reopened to the public last fall after completing significant stabilization work made possible in part with grants from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Windham Foundation. Originally erected to serve the spiritual needs of the residents of Athens and surrounding towns, the large open sanctuary, which boasted a high pulpit, box pews, large galleries and a handsome chandelier, was divided into two stories. The lower continued to be used for worship services while the upper a large hall served the town’s civic needs for town meetings and elections through the 1970s.
The Athens Meetinghouse is located on Meetinghouse Road in Athens, just off Route 35. Admission is free, donations are accepted, and all are welcome.