ROCKINGHAM — The Rockingham Meeting House will open for the 2021 season on Saturday, May 29. Visitors are welcome daily through Indigenous Peoples' Day (Monday, Oct. 11), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Constructed between 1787 and 1801, the meeting house is a designated National Historic Landmark and the oldest public building in Vermont that still exists in a condition close to its original state.
It served as both a place of worship and the Town Hall until 1869, when it was abandoned. In 1906, the building was restored to its current state in one of the earliest historic preservation projects in Vermont. The work left intact the building's king-post timber framing, finely detailed woodwork, and its “pig pen” box pews.
The building hosts an annual pilgrimage in August as part of the town's Old Home Days celebrations.
The meeting house is owned by the town and operated as a museum, with skilled docents on hand to offer additional information about the architecture and history of the building.
The adjacent cemetery, which continues in use today, contains more than 1,000 graves and is a trove of information about the lives and deaths of the town's early settlers.
The cemetery also features some of the “finest gravestone art to be found in New England,” as described in a news release from the museum. Daniel Barlow of Barre, an organizer of the Green Mountain Graveyards photography project, told Seven Days in 2012 that the site “features some of the state's best examples of classic, early-American cemetery art.”