The dominant feature of its hamlet, this small but lovingly detailed building presents a mix of Vermont traditions from the 1830s. Now home to the local historical society, it was built to house Guilford's Universalists, reusing timbers from the town's dismantled 1770s meetinghouse. Its gable-front main body and square tower place it in the Federal church lineage introduced to the state by Asher Benjamin at the end of the eighteenth century. To preserve correct proportions within the diminutive facade, the builder used a solution found on a number of small Vermont meetinghouses of the 1820s and 1830s. He reduced the centerpiece to two bays, with barely enough room to set windows above its twin doors. While the composition was conservative by the 1830s, the Greek Revival detailing of the centerpiece is more contemporary. Fluted pilasters carry broad entablatures at the doors, and plain pilasters and more modest entablatures over the windows support a mutule-decorated cornice and pediment above. Detailing of the church's body and tower also provides an early instance of Gothic tastes. Each stage of the tower is capped with crenellations and pierced with louvered pointed-arch openings, and the large windows of the body are topped with pointed arches formed by louvered screens. The medieval profile of the louvered screens is found elsewhere in the region, sometimes in conjunction with Greek features as well, but seldom with the felicity found in this fine building.
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Guilford Center Meetinghouse
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