A Brief History
Erected in 1799 by local carpenters, this beautiful structure was built as a place to do public business and served for a brief period in the early days as a meeting house for various religious denominations. Strafford’s annual Town Meeting has been held in this buildingevery year since 1801.
The Strafford Town House is one of the oldest meeting houses in Vermont, and it is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Strafford Village
It was among the first meeting houses to put the entrance (or entrances) at the
towerend and the pulpit at the other end of the building. The change from a
side-entrance reflected a time when New Englanders were clearly deciding to
separate their political business from their ecclesiastical affairs.
The building has remained relatively unchanged over the years. As the town’s
religious groups built their own churches, the structure increasingly was made
more suitable for meetings and social functions. The pulpit and downstairs
pews were removed in 1886,and appropriate wooden benches were set in place
for seating. At about the same time, a stage was added. The gallery and its
old box pews were restored to their original appearance in 1977. The original,
unique sounding-board remains.
The lovely Strafford Town House, situated elegantly on a rise overlooking the town
common, is said to be the most photographed building in Vermont. With its interior
of openness and light, and the simple, classic beauty of its unchanged exterior, the
Strafford Town House is hard to match in Vermont or all of New England.
The Town House by Gwenda Smith is available for purchase at the Town Clerk's office.