Originally built in 1856 in the village of East Charleston, the Plymouth Congregational Church has been a vital community hub since it was constructed.
At the time it was built, there were over 20 buildings in the village including a hotel, store, school, doctor’s office, blacksmith shop, grist mill and a dozen homes. From its earliest days, the church and its spacious ground floor vestry with a full kitchen were utilized by social groups, clubs, and other churches to serve as a gathering space, bonding the town together. In 1921, a massive fire destroyed much of the village, leveling 26 buildings. Through efforts by the fire department and members of the community, the church was one of only a small handful of buildings that survived. So important was this building to the community that firefighters climbed to the steeple with buckets of water to extinguish roof shingles that had started to burn. In the months that followed, the church became the base of operations for community-led efforts to support those who lost everything in the fire.
That role at the heart of East Charleston Village persisted through the 20th century and today the church is as active and vital to the small community as it has ever been. But the years have taken their toll on the building and despite the diligent efforts of the congregation and the community to maintain their building, it has reached the point of needing repairs.
The Preservation Trust of Vermont, through the Robert Sincerbeaux Fund, helped the church hire Jan Lewandoski to conduct a condition assessment. This report was completed in the winter of 2022 and from it a scope of work was created to address condition issues at an estimated cost of $65,000.
A grant of $50,000 will be used to address identified issues at the foundation, steeple, exterior trim & siding repairs, as well as preliminary work to create an accessible restroom.