This one-and-a-half-story (with basement) church has a simplicity that belies a complex history and surprising embellishments. Built during what is known as Vermont's Age of Benevolence (the period of religious awakening between 1816 and 1837) as a union church serving four Walden denominations, by mid-century it was primarily used by Methodists. This was perhaps appropriate, for it had been modeled on the now-lost Methodist Church (1822) on Danville Green, a spireless gable-front frame building with two doors giving onto a vestibule that entered the sanctuary beneath the choir loft on the pulpit wall. The present central door covered by a hood on elaborate Queen Anne brackets is one of the changes executed in 1897. At that time the square belfry was elevated with a neo-Federal, double-staged octagonal tower and a bellcast cupola. The cupola carries one of the most remarkable folk weathervanes in Vermont—an eighteen-foot copper-clad pole adorned with wrought-iron scrollwork compass points that is topped by a copper-sheathed fish below a ball and finial. This weathervane is a replica of the original, which is in the Shelburne Museum. The alterations of 1897 also reconfigured the interior, reorienting the auditorium and embellishing it with warm maple matchboard wainscot and ceiling, decorative oak Queen Anne pews, and a dominating kerosene chandelier with twenty-four globes—as memorable as the weathervane outside.
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United Methodist Church
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