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The Old First Church, Bennington

#3 of 20 in Things to do in Bennington
Cemetery · Hidden Gem · Religious Site
The First Congregational Church of Bennington, also known as the Old First Church, is a historic church at 1 Monument Circle in Old Bennington, Vermont. The congregation was organized in 1762 and the current meeting house was built in 1805. The building, one of the state's best examples of Federal period religious architecture, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.Description and historyThe Old First Church occupies a prominent position facing the green in the center of Old Bennington, at the junction of Monument Avenue and Church Lane near the southern end of the green. It is a two story rectangular wood frame structure, with a projecting entry vestibule and multi-stage tower. The gabled roof has a modillioned eave, and the exterior is finished in wooden clapboards with quoined corners. The entry vestibule is also gabled, with two round-arch entrances flanking a larger central entrance, which is topped by a rounded transom and gable. The second level of the vestibule has a large Palladian window with broken pediment above, and there is a half-round window in the pediment above. The tower has pilastered corners, with a smaller Palladian window in the first stage, an open second stage octagonal belfry, and an octagonal cupola at the top.The church congregation was organized in 1762, and its first meetinghouse was built in 1766. Due to increased participation, this building, with a seating capacity of six hundred fifty, was built in 1805, funded by the sale of pews and local levies. It was designed by builder Lavius Fillmore, who apparently borrowed heavily from Plate 35 of Asher Benjamin's The Country Builder's Assistant.Old Bennington CemeteryThe adjacent cemetery Old Bennington Cemetery, also known as Old First Church Cemetery or Old First Congregational Church Cemetery, was designated by the Vermont legislature as "Vermont's Sacred Acre".
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  • I'm from PA. and love traveling north into the New England States. Bennington is a wonderful community with very interesting attractions, one being the beautiful Old Bennington Congregational...  more »
  • While it may seem morbid, I like to visit historic graveyards. I'm also a literature enthusiast. This gave me chills. So much incredible history here AND the grave of Robert Frost.  more »
  • I was there to look for a geocache. The church is in great shape. It was after hours so I did not get in. We roamed around the cemetery which is very old and historic. Nice area in the town.
  • Quiet and peaceful, nice to wander around the gravesites. There are quiet a few folks with ties to the American Revolution and also the Civil war. One fellow was there during the shooting of President Lincoln. Another made most of the gunpowder for the Union in the Civil War. Also a man who helped load passengers onto lifeboats from the Titanic.

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