Rockingham Meeting House

It only took me about four years, but I finally visited the Rockingham Meeting House – a National Historic Landmark. Construction began in 1787, completed by 1801. It is the oldest public meeting house in Vermont with such a high level of historic integrity. Meetings were held in this building until 1869, after which the building was neglected and vandalized until 1906, when local residents were concerned with its fate and took up its restoration. Today the building hosts weddings and special events, but remains unheated and un-electrified. You can visit in the summer months, from 10am-4pm. It’s quite the impressive building.

Rockingham Meeting House.

Rockingham Meeting House.

From the hill.

From the hill.

The drive up to the meeting house.

The drive up to the meeting house.

Foliage made the site even more beautiful

Foliage made the site even more beautiful

From the other drive. It's hard to get a photographs of the front of the meeting house because it sits on a hill.

From the other drive. It’s hard to get a photographs of the front of the meeting house because it sits on a hill.

Front entrance.

Front entrance.

Clapboard, rosehead nails, small panes of glass.

Clapboard, rosehead nails, small panes of glass.

Looking through the window.

Looking through the window.

Edge of the cemetery.

Edge of the cemetery.

Looking back to the meeting house.

Looking back to the meeting house.

Cemetery.

Cemetery.

A National Historic Landmark.

A National Historic Landmark.

In the cemetery.

In the cemetery.

Next visit, I’ll get there in time to go inside! And, when the federal government gets beyond this shutdown, you can the read the National Historic Landmark nomination and see photographs here.

Building Accessibility

Accessibility to historic buildings is often a necessary code upgrade, not to mention important to insure that everyone can enjoy the building. Inside we see chair lifts on railings, elevators, ramps. On the exterior we see elevator shafts and accessible ramps of all materials and interesting placements. Sometimes a ramp will block the facade or detail of a building. That is not to say that a building should not have a ramp, but perhaps more creative planning would help.

Consider the Leicester Meeting House (1836):

Leceister, VT

Leicester, VT. Can you see the ramp? It blends into the landscape. Note the red landscape and the window that was partially converted to a door.

Closer view.

Closer view. See the bridge from the ramp to the building. The railing and the bulkhead doors match.

Leceister, VT

Leicester, VT: 1836 Meeting House

What do you think? I think it’s one of my favorite ADA solutions that I’ve seen. The approach to the building on both sides is pleasant and open to the town green, neither the front or side hidden (an ADA entrance should not seem like a secondary entrance).

Preservation Photos #131

Sudbury, VT Meeting House / Sudbury Congregational Church was constructed in 1807 by Charles G. Stewart.

Read the brief history.

Preservation Photos #56

A beautiful October view over the pond to the meeting house at Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. What a great place for class field trips, even as a graduate student.