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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Union Meetinghouse - Storrowton Village

The Big E is underway and in full swing, but taking a break from the bustle of the crowded fairgrounds, we have a look at one of the quieter spots of the Eastern States Exposition, the Union Meeting House at Storrowton Village.

For those not from New England, the Exposition is an annual regional, rather than a single state fair, representing all six New England states. (See this previous post on the Eastern States Exposition.)Storrowton Village is a re-creation of a 19th century New England village common on the fairgrounds with representative buildings placed around it to illustrate what life was like in such a place, at such a time. The “Village” may be fanciful, but the buildings are not recreations. They are actual historic buildings moved here as part of a project headed by Helen O. Storrow, and were collected from 1927 to 1931.

This church is the Union Meetinghouse, built originally in cooperation between four separate denominations in the Smith’s Corner section of Salisbury, New Hampshire in 1834. These denominations shared the building between them. It was moved here to the Exposition fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1929. The pulpit, and the bell, are salvaged from other churches in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Today, wedding ceremonies may still be held in this non-denominational church. The steeple towers over the village, and vies with the nearby Ferris wheel for attention. The Ferris wheel is only temporary, though. The church weathers the centuries, and the fairgoers, with equal fortitude.

For more on Storrowton Village, have a look at this website.

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