Montville Center Congregational Church (1847)

December 26th, 2010 Posted in Churches, Greek Revival, Montville

In 1722, the North Parish of New London, later to become the Town of Montville, was established and a meeting house for the congregation was soon built near the center of the parish. In 1772, a new meeting house was constructed at a new location, at the corner of Raymond Hill Road and Meetinghouse Lane. As described in the History of Montville (1896), compiled by Henry A. Baker:

On the 25th day of May, 1823, while the congregation was engaged in worship on the Sabbath, the house was struck by lightning, the fluid entering by the spire on the north porch and following down the posts of the porch and running along the timbers of the house in all directions, shivering timbers and casements, scattering splinters and broken fragments of ceilings throughout the entire building. Two persons were instantly killed, Mrs. Betsey Bradford, wife of Perez Bradford, and a child of John R. Comstock. Many were shocked and a general consternation seized the awe-stricken assembly.

The building being very much damaged, it was soon after repaired, the upper portion of the north porch was taken off and was finished up at the same height with the south porch. This house stood until the year 1847, when it was taken down and the present house of worship erected on the site, at a cost of $2,000. Sherwood Raymond, Esq., gave $500 toward the building of the house, and the balance was made up by subscriptions varying from $200 to $25. Its size is fifty feet in length and thirty-five feet in width, with twenty-feet posts. In the year 1860 the bell was placed in the belfry, it being obtained through the efforts of Rev. Hiram C. Hayan, then acting pastor of the church.

By the 1990s, the congregation had moved to a new church building and sought to sell the old 1847 Montville Center Congregational Church, but it was found that the church’s deed restricted its sale to a private property owner. The Town of Montville has now sought to purchase the church to turn it into a museum or community center.

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