Inspired by Asher Benjamin’s “A Country Builder’s Assistant” and constructed by builder-designer Elisha Scott of Tolland, CT for $6,000 in 1805, the East Poultney Baptist Church dominates the East Poultney Village Green and anchors the historic village which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Elements of the Federal style are most evident in the elaborately detailed construction. The plan of the wood-frame, 2- story, Federal-style church is rectangular with a monumental entrance pavilion and attached Wren-type steeple. In the manner typical of early 19th century, New England meetinghouse style, the structure exemplifies the symmetry, pleasing geometrical proportions and Palladian motifs which were carried over from the pre-Revolutionary Georgian architectural period. The church also represents Asher Benjamin’s success in adapting the urban, stylized federal style for use in rural church architecture. The church is among the most outstanding Federal style churches in Vermont.
The church recently underwent an exterior envelope restoration, which included work on the windows, slate roof replacement, and exterior repairs. Phase II of the project is making the building accessible, including a new lift between the main floor and sanctuary, ADA-compliant bathrooms, and a new ramp on the back of the building. A grant of $16,450 will support the installation of the lift, which will provide barrier free access to the sanctuary for the first time in the building’s 200+ year history.