History

History of Weston's Old Parish Church

Only one year after their first Town Meeting in March 1800, the people of Weston voted to build a meeting house and a group of principal landowners established The Weston and Landgrove United Society for that purpose. They proceeded with some deliberation to develop their plans (14 years), and in 1815 the subscribers were finally ready to meet..

Construction began in 1816 and was completed by 1832, financed by subscription and the sale of pews, with all religious societies in the town receiving a stated number of Sundays in proportion to their respective memberships. Builder Nathanial Tucker was paid $2605.75, half in cash, the rest in salable neat [MEAT?] stock (calves) or building materials. The building was 50 feet long and 40 feet wide with a balcony on three sides and became the Weston-Landgrove Union Meeting House.

In 1866, the structure was deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a floor was built at the balcony level. The second floor was for church services; the lower section was sold to the Town and became the Town Hall. The town paid half the cost of maintaining the building.

With the construction of the present Town Office building in 1938 and the later transfer of Town Meetings to the Playhouse, the Town no longer needed the lower half of the building and sold it back to the Methodist Church. The upper floor was then removed, reopening the balcony and restoring the sanctuary as it is today. A detailed account of these events can be found on pages 145 and 150, Waters of the Lonely Way.

Keeping an Old Parish Church Up to Date

Centuries-old buildings can be a nightmare to maintain. We are fortunate to have a congregation – and a community – dedicated to the preservation and the enhancement of this beautiful and historic structure. Here are some highlights:

  • In 2006, church leaders under the direction of Pres Sloterbeck made many important repairs to insure OPC’s structural integrity and preserve its beauty – repairs that extended from the foundation to the top of the clock/bell tower. The Preservation Trust of Vermont helped fund the project and recommended skilled, experienced professionals to help plan and do the work. Generous parishioners and members of the community also contributed funds.
  • Around the same time, and thanks to an anonymous donor, the church substantially renovated the Community Room.  Shirley Knowlton provided the Church with new front doors, given in loving memory of her husband, John. Later, the Welch family donated a sound system, insuring that our minister’s words are always audible.
  •  While OPC was unscathed during Tropical Storm Irene, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy relocated our weathervane to the parking lot. It was refurbished and returned to its perch atop the clock tower.
  • In 2012, it became necessary to rehabilitate our Parsonage, and Doris Ingram led a team of volunteers and professional contractors who brought the building back to tip-top condition. Today it provides affordable housing to a single Mom and her daughter.
  • Phase One of a program to improve the lighting on the altar has been completed, thanks to the skill and effort of Stuart Duke and Mike Savage. Further improvements are on the way.
  • In 2015, under the leadership of Bob Wells and Jim Linville, we researched, funded and executed a plan to mechanize the hourly chiming of OPC’s church bell during daylight.

Thanks to B&G Chairman Bob Yuengling and Treasurer Tim Goodwin for their leadership of so many of these recent projects. And finally, thanks to the Thrifty Attic for more than two decades of grants that helped make many projects possible.