Harpswell Meeting House, 1757-1759

On Saturday after lunch, we arrived at Harpswell Meeting House, The construction was undertaken by members of the second parish of North Yarmouth c. 1757, supervised by carpenter Elisha Eaton, son of the minister. The building remained unfinished until the late 1770s, when the three-sided gallery, pews, staircase were completed.The two-story framed meetinghouse is the oldest in Maine, and one of the smaller 18th c. meeting houses. The parish conducted services and town affairs in the building until 1843, at which time they built the Elijah Kellogg Church (1844) across the road. Fortunately the new minister Elijah Kellogg was committed to preserving the old Harpswell Meeting House, and it continued to be used for town affairs. The building was restored in 1958, and is still used on occasion for town business.

Unlike most of the other meeting houses, Harpswell was built with “plank frame” construction. The walls are formed without studs; vertical planks are fastened to the exterior side of the posts and beams, with lath and plaster directly on the interior face of the planks, and shingles or clapboards on the exterior side.

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Moving inside: most of the original box pews, and all the original benches have been removed, evidently in the 19th century.

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