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Union Free Will Baptist Church (Line Baptist Church)

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Line Baptist Church
1867. 175 South Killingly Rd. (at Kennedy Rd.)

This church, long known as Line Baptist because the Connecticut boundary runs immediately behind it, might be too unassuming as a destination in itself to warrant a visit, being less prepossessing architecturally (although considerably larger) even than the Mount Vernon Christian Church ( FO20). It is the most modest example in the remarkably preserved series of rural churches in Foster inspired by the basic Greek Revival formula for the type. Its size within the village, location at the principle Tjunction, and very simple cupola (once open, now screened against birds, unfortunately with aluminum shuttering) are its sole attributes to monumentality. No projecting moldings mark the doors, only slotlike transoms. In such simple, anonymous buildings, the slightest efforts to rise to the occasion make visible the ways in which grander architecture accumulates more complex meanings. Here each entrance gets its mini-pyramid of steps from a single granite slab (now half buried) which has been dragged across the entire front and left uncemented to the low foundation behind, topped by two shorter and narrower, though still considerable slabs beneath the thresholds. A diagonal pipe affixed to one corner of the building with plumbing joints provides a handrail.

The tiny, as yet undisturbed village is as prosaically appealing in its setting of lawns and trees as the church. To the west, the ell of the H. Smith House (c. 1820) connects with what was once C. Cory's (or the Line) General Store (c. 1885). A stone marker diagonally across the street from the store in front of the parsonage (c. 1890), with “RI” on one face and “CT” opposite, indicates that the state line passes through the parson's house. (At the north end of Kennedy Road, 600 feet east, another quartzite marker near the church indicates the earlier state boundary, before adjudication.)

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Union Free Will Baptist Church (Line Baptist Church)", [Foster, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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