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United Church (Congregational Church)

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Congregational Church
1842, William Cowee(?). 2793 Stage Rd., Benson village

The Greek Revival church built by the Congregationalists as the focus of their linear village set the style for Benson's years of peak prosperity. It is remarkably similar to churches in Poultney (1841), Orwell (1842), and Shoreham (AD36), which are all based on published Asher Benjamin designs. Benson shares Shoreham's temple mass, though in frame rather than brick, and the order of its porch is Ionic rather than Doric. The tower is more like those in Poultney and Orwell, with a square base, octagonal belfry marked by paired Ionic columns, attic volutes, and a low dome. Within, the broad keystone arch on pilasters over the chancel parallels Orwell. Even accepting the authority of a builders' guide, such similarities among the churches suggest either a single interpreter of the source material, perhaps James Lamb, whose design was executed by different builders, or the emulation of a single powerful model, such as the tower of the Poultney Methodist Church, which is the oldest. United's likely builder, William Cowee, appears to have spread details based on the church to numerous Benson village and farm houses during the 1840s.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson
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Citation

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "United Church (Congregational Church)", [Benson, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-RU1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 61-62.

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