In this secluded, quiet pocket of Vermont, there is a large, red, arched bridge that sees traffic from mostly pickup trucks and all-terrain vehicles. On one side of the bridge is a small township that has a population of roughly 4,000 people. On the other side is Richmond’s Old Round Church (1812), which is essentially the heart of the community.
This is not a truly round church like those stone medieval round churches that you see in places like the UK. Rather, it is made of wood and because of this form, the “round church” is a sixteen-sided polygon.
Born during a period of wartime disunity (1812: US, Canada, and Britain), this church went against the grain of Protestant discord and became the home to 5-religious denominations: Baptists, Christians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Universalists. In essence, it was a shared church and meeting space that all residents could use.
The building was built by volunteers for the sum of $3079.86 ($45,071.95 in today’s dollars); and, the construction materials were paid for through the sale of private church pews. The bell came later and was cast by Henry Northey Hooper in Boston (1851). Ringing the bell is a manual process and generally happens only during weddings.
When we visited the site it was closed; the building is only open to the public during the summer months.