Architecture

Meeting House

Daniel Wadsworth is credited as having been the designer and the master builder of the Center Church Meeting House. Its architecture, patterned after London’s Church of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, incorporates Classical, Georgian, and Federalist elements. The present edifice replaced the third Meeting House, which was built on the same location and dedicated in 1739.

The actual work of construction of this, the fourth, Meeting House started on March 6, 1806, and, in less than two years, it was ready to be dedicated. Thus, on December 3, 1807, in a solemn and joyful service, it was consecrated.

Extensive alterations have been made to the Meeting House since its dedication. In the mid-1830s, the building was repaired and its interior redecorated. To compensate for the increased length of the building by the addition of the pulpit recess in the 1850s, a higher, barrel-vault ceiling replaced the original flat ceiling. In 1882, at the time of the church’s 250th anniversary, the clear-glass window behind the pulpit was replaced with a new, stained-glass window of rather elaborate design, given to the memory of the first fourteen ministers of the church. There followed other memorial stained-glass windows, all installed at the main floor level. Memorial plaques and tablets have also been placed on the walls of the main floor of the Meeting House.

Major restoration and renovation of the steeple and the interior of the Meeting House occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This included a new post and weathervane at the pinnacle of the steeple, complete cleaning and repainting of main floor’s walls, window casings, and ceilings, cleaning and appropriate refinishing of the brass chandeliers, repair and cleaning of the stained-glass windows, and repair and exposure of the original 1807 floorboards.

Church House

The Church House, designed by Connecticut architect Charles O. Whitmore, is in the colonial revival style. It was built by the firm of Charles B. Andrus & Son. The cornerstone was laid in 1908, and it was dedicated on November 17, 1909.

Many furnishings in the Church House, particularly tables and chairs, as well as the fireplace mantles, are in the Mission style. Like the Meeting House, the Church House has been renovated extensively, the most significant being the transformation in the late 1950s of a Meeting House-replica chapel into a smaller space with office spaces to the sides and elementary-age classrooms above.