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United Church (First Congregational Church)
In a community plagued by fire and flood, this church still indicates the prosperity of late-nineteenth-century industrial Barton. This building, the third home of the First Congregational Church, was duplicated by the Bradford Congregational Church two years later. The Congregational church's design has traditionally been attributed to St. Johnsbury architect Packard, who worked in both villages and was responsible for at least one other building in Barton, the extant but altered Pierce-Barrows Block on Main Street (1885). If it is a Packard design, it shows that he had a conventional and somewhat tentative Italianate vocabulary that he used early in his career. The elaborate frame building has round arches, hood moldings, and brackets, and displays an uneasy progression from quoins to paneled pilasters to applied colonettes at the corners of his towers. A tower clock was added in 1880; stained glass, including a Tiffany window of the Ascension, was installed beginning in 1895; and a water-powered organ was acquired in 1907.
In 1947 after a fire damaged the Methodist Church, a fine brick and stone Gothic Revival building on Church Street designed by George Guernsey in 1887, the Methodists and Congregationalists merged. As the United Church, they occupied the Congregationalists' building. Funds from the sale of the damaged building to the Assembly of God went into the renovation of the Congregational church, which was fully returned to its Victorian character in 1980. In 1993 the adjacent board-and-batten horse shed was restored.
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