Enfield Shaker Village Meeting House (1827)

May 21st, 2013 Posted in Churches, Enfield, Organizations, Vernacular

Shaker Meeting House, Enfield

Earlier this month I featured buildings at the Hancock Shaker Village on my site Historic Buildings of Massachusetts. Connecticut also had a Shaker village. It was located in Enfield, but not nearly as many of its buildings have survived and they have been restored as they have at Hancock. On this site, I’ve already featured the South Family Residence and the adjacent laundry, ice house and dairy. The Enfield Shaker community grew to include five “families.” Besides the South Family, there were the North, East and West Families and, centrally located, was the Church Family. The first to be organized, the Church Family had overall control over the entire Enfield Shaker settlement. The last Enfield Shakers left the area in 1917. The State of Connecticut purchased the former Shaker property in 1931 for what is now the Enfield Correctional Institution. One of only two buildings to survive from the Church Family is the former Meeting House/Trustee House. Built in 1827, the building had an open meeting hall for the entire community and (perhaps later?) housed the Trustees, who handled the community‘s dealings with the outside world. Shakers were associated with reform movements, such as abolitionism: Sojourner Truth once spoke at the Meeting House.

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