Off the beaten path (like much of the town of Wilmot, NH, you can find this stunning old New England meeting house. Erected in 1829, the North Wilmot Church stands as the oldest extant church in the small town. Five denominations—Congregational, Christian Baptist, Freewill Baptist, Universalist, and Methodist, together collaborated to build this structure then known as the North Union Meeting House. Each denomination held services at the church, as they were all too small separately to warrant their own buildings. Decades after it was built, it was determined that the church should be moved down the hill. In 1846, the church was lifted and placed on rollers (logs), and with the help of oxen, rolled down the hill. It is said that the builder of the church, Josiah Stearns, rode in the belfry. The Different congregations later built churches elsewhere and the building was under-utilized, and it was converted to a meeting space, but allowed a congregation to use the structure. In 1983, with the agreement of remaining North Wilmot Congregational Church members, the North Wilmot Union Meeting House Society was established to maintain the structure and arrange for services in July and August.
In the township of Washington, New Hampshire, about three miles from the Washington Town Green, stands a rural church building, a white wooden structure complimenting freshly fallen snow. This church is honored as the mother church of the first Seventh-Day Adventists. Its story started in 1842 by a local group of farmers calling themselves Christian Brethren, who dissented sharply from the strict Congregationalism of the Church in Washington Center. Many of the Christian Brethren became Adventists about the time this building was first used, and thereafter some of them began worshiping on the Seventh Day; and eventually the majority did so. In 1862 the official Seventh-day Adventist denomination was born at this place. Today, the building is a regular point of pilgrimage for members of the massive, international congregation.
Perched high on a hill in central Newport, NH, St. Patrick’s Church has served the community in its stunning building for nearly 150 years. The town of Newport began seeing Irish immigrants moving into town looking for work at the mills as early as 1835. The large working-class population created a need for a Catholic church in the growing town. That same year, the Catholic population of the state of New Hampshire was listed at just 720 people. Over the following decades of meeting in homes and small buildings around town, the Catholic population in town, along with the newly established Archdiocese of Manchester, NH, came up with funds for a church in the mill town of Newport. The congregation hired Hira Ransom Beckwith, a carpenter, builder and architect from nearby Claremont to design and construct the new place of worship. Interestingly, Beckwith had only a high school education, so his training as an architect and builder was through apprenticeships. The church is a blend of Gothic Revival and Stick styles, with the lancet windows and tracery paired with the elaborate stick-work in the gable.
The present Congregational Church in Hollis, NH is the fourth to be located on this site and was constructed in 1925, replacing an earlier 1804 building destroyed by fire in 1923. The church is oriented with its porticoed facade facing Monument Square and perfectly blends in with the Colonial era homes and buildings around the green to retain the integrity of one of the best town centers in Southern NH. The present church building was designed by Boston architect Oscar Thayer.