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The Old First Church, Bennington

4.8
Cemetery · Hidden Gem · Religious Site
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The First Congregational Church of Bennington, also known as the Old First Church, is a historic church at 1 Monument Circle in Old Bennington, Vermont. The congregation was organized in 1762 and the current meeting house was built in 1805. The building, one of the state's best examples of Federal period religious architecture, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.Description and historyThe Old First Church occupies a prominent position facing the green in the center of Old Bennington, at the junction of Monument Avenue and Church Lane near the southern end of the green. It is a two story rectangular wood frame structure, with a projecting entry vestibule and multi-stage tower. The gabled roof has a modillioned eave, and the exterior is finished in wooden clapboards with quoined corners. The entry vestibule is also gabled, with two round-arch entrances flanking a larger central entrance, which is topped by a rounded transom and gable. The second level of the vestibule has a large Palladian window with broken pediment above, and there is a half-round window in the pediment above. The tower has pilastered corners, with a smaller Palladian window in the first stage, an open second stage octagonal belfry, and an octagonal cupola at the top.The church congregation was organized in 1762, and its first meetinghouse was built in 1766. Due to increased participation, this building, with a seating capacity of six hundred fifty, was built in 1805, funded by the sale of pews and local levies. It was designed by builder Lavius Fillmore, who apparently borrowed heavily from Plate 35 of Asher Benjamin's The Country Builder's Assistant.Old Bennington CemeteryThe adjacent cemetery Old Bennington Cemetery, also known as Old First Church Cemetery or Old First Congregational Church Cemetery, was designated by the Vermont legislature as "Vermont's Sacred Acre".
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The Old First Church reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
264 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Wonderful docent couple, very informative! Robert Frost's grave was in the cemetery attached to this wonderful church! 
    Wonderful docent couple, very informative! Robert Frost's grave was in the cemetery attached to this wonderful church!  more »
  • Beautiful church with a friendly staff! The church itself is absolutely breathtaking, and the location is gorgeous! The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. 
    Beautiful church with a friendly staff! The church itself is absolutely breathtaking, and the location is gorgeous! The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful.  more »
  • We were lucky that we arrived at 11am, just as the volunteer was opening the church for visitors. Kathy gave us very detailed information about the history of the church and allowed us to wonder at.....  more
    We were lucky that we arrived at 11am, just as the volunteer was opening the church for visitors. Kathy gave us very detailed information about the history of the church and allowed us to wonder at.....  more »
Google
  • Absolutely breathtaking edifice, with historic cemetery that includes the resting place of Robert Frost and his family. Take the time to see both, and read a verse or two while you pay your respects to Frost and his legacy. Truly a special place to visit.
  • Great classic New England church! I've seen a lot of historic churches and this is one of the best classic 18th, 19th century style of white steepled New England church. It's in the perfect location in Bennington, with a large cemetery, a view of the mountains and the place is stunning in the fall with all the key popping colors. The staff was super friendly and there's even a tiny gift shop. We enjoyed going tot he upper floors and seeing the view as well as the pew boxes. We were also lucky enough to arrive just before a tour and hear a presentation of the history of the church. Really is a beautiful place and right up the road is the Bennington monument where if your leaf peeping in the fall you can get an even better view of the fall foliage. Highly recommend going instead and seeing the early American architecture and the surrounding scenery.
  • Beautiful church, wonderful story. Beautiful resting place and well maintained. Robert Frost's resting place with two poems. Read them out loud as a tribute.
  • Beautiful old church. First church in Vermont. Robert Frost buried in cemetery at this church.
  • Beautiful historic chapel with fascinating history, especially lovely in fall. I love the fence along it's side. Also this where Poet Robert Frost is burried. Very kind church members are there to answer questions about offer info in the history of this VT treasure. Dont miss this if you're in Bennington, Vermont.

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