South Congregational Church Steeple - Newport, NH
Posted by: silverquill
N 43° 21.646 W 072° 10.234
18T E 729274 N 4804767
Quick Description: Dating from 1823, this unique steeple is a landmark providing a picturesque look to the town of Newport, esp. approaching from the west. This multi-tiered steeple features a clock and a Paul Revere bell.
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Date Posted: 10/13/2009 8:32:50 PM
Waymark Code: WM7ECJ
From the Steeples Project
Dedicated in March 1823, the South Congregational Church of Newport is a prime example of Federal style architecture, showing the widespread influence of Charles Bulfinch and Asher Benjamin as interpreted by two regional designer/builders: Elias Carter of Worcester (MA) and Isaac Damon of Northampton (MA).
The church at Newport has two distinct precedents: its body and clock tower closely resemble Damon's brick church at Greenfield (MA) built in 1819, and its steeple replicates the 1821 Carter-style structure at Acworth (NH). The synthesis of the two produced an entirely new form—simple, well-proportioned, and finely detailed.
Newport's meetinghouse, with soaring arcades and unique ornamentation, was framed in 1822 by master carpenter John Leach of Dunbarton (NH). The salmon-colored bricks were manufactured locally and laid by a team of masons directed by John Silver of Newport (NH). The minister at the time was the Rev. James Wheelock, grandson of Dartmouth College founder Eleazar Wheelock.
Privately financed, the cost of Newport's construction is unknown. It must have exceeded the $8,000 paid in 1824 by the Baptist congregation in Concord (NH) for a smaller brick church by the same builder. The wooden, Templeton-style churches generally cost between $6,000 and $7,000. Newport's brick construction, therefore, may have increased the expense to its building committee by 30% or more. After selling a limited number of pews to individual members and the Society, the building committee sold the meetinghouse to the Congregational Church in 1827 for $500.
Architectural historians identify Newport's church as the northernmost in the "Templeton Run" of similarly-steepled churches—though it is the only brick building among them. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
The Paul Revere Bell here dates from 1822 and weighs 1,241 pounds.
When visiting the location, please try to take a picture with your GPSr if you are alone, or with members of your party in the shot. Also, please describe your visit/adventures so others will know what to expect when they get there. Please describe what makes the steeple unique or interesting.