A Brief History

"An architecturally magnificent building” – John R. Schott, 1972 

In 1787 even before Main Street and the village of Francestown existed as such,

OMH.PBphoto11townsfolk chose a prominent site for their Meeting House. Then in 1775, twelve pounds were pledged at Town Meeting and a rough frame was raised on June 8th. But the hardship and poverty caused by the Revolutionary War temporarily halted construction.

In 1787 the town voted to sell pews in order to finish building the Meeting House. Eight years later an Article came before the town to enlarge the structure—only to be voted down.

At last in 1800, the town voted to build a new Meeting House measuring 66 x 48 feet. Current pew holders were given the option of either receiving a full refund of the cost of their old pews or credit toward a new pew. All of the pews were sold before the first board was laid.

With groundbreaking in 1801 and construction completed in 1803, the new Meeting House cost $5,274.24. Francestown now had a grand symbol of its commitment to community, church, and government. A bell was purchased and lifted into place in 1808, where it hung for almost 50 years.

Ongoing Restoration

Today’s Meeting House has been renovated numerous times in its history. In 1837 a new front and steeple were added, and the building was turned to face the crossroads at the village’s center. The steeple was changed in 1855 to accommodate a new larger bell, and in 1912 the clock was installed in the belfry.

In 1953 extensive renovations to the interior of the building included a new pulpit and heating system. In 1987 title was transferred to the Old Meeting House of Francestown, Inc., a non-profit corporation responsible for the ongoing preservation, restoration, maintenance, and management of the building to retain its historical and architectural integrity, as well as its continuing usefulness to the town.

The Old Meeting House of Francestown was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Today the Old Meeting House remains what one historian has called “an architecturally magnificent building” in our New Hampshire Historic Landmark Village.