Explore the timeline below for a snapshot of the Old West Church’s early history and throughout the years.
August 18, 1823
Caleb Curtis, Medad Wright, and Nathan Bancroft called for a meeting to have a meetinghouse built in Calais. The First Meetinghouse Society was formed. Bylaws were quickly adopted, officers elected and a building committee formed.
August 30, 1823
Building committee members: Caleb Curtis, Isaac Davis, Alpheus Bliss, Medad Wright, and Joe Robinson agreed upon a building lot and plan that called for a building 40 by 42 feet with 40 five by six foot pews on the first floor and 18 in the balcony. Caleb Curtis, Joshua Bliss, and Joel Robinson were chosen to supervise the building, and Capt. Remember Kent, Capt. Isaac Davis and Joseph Brown to examine the work.
October 13, 1823
Lovell Kelton, timber framer, raised the meetinghouse on a rainy and wet day. He charged $23.13.
The building was completed under the supervision of Mr. Griffin of Hardwick for a total cost of $2,005. A dedication ceremony was held at the end of the month by Mr. Bartlett of Hartland.
The meetinghouse was first used on Sundays by Baptists, Sabbaths, Universalists, Congregationalists, Christians, Free Will Baptists, and Methodists. For the next 35 year’s the building was used for services, funerals, weddings, lectures, concerts, meetings, and dramas.
Horse sheds were built behind the church to shelter horses during the services.
Wood stoves were installed. Prior to that parishioners brought winter foot stoves bearing hot coals or heated freestones to keep warm.
December 25, 1836
The first Christmas Eve service took place with candles. The tradition still takes place today.
After being closed for services for many years, extensive repairs took place and services continued in the Old West Church.
April 8, 1921
The Old West Church Association, Inc. was incorporated with the Vermont Secretary of State for the purpose of preserving the building.
Lightning strikes the steeple.
A bell from the Maple Corner School under the direction of George Morse was installed in the belfry with the help of David Fitch, Robert Dole, David Morse, and Greg Belcher.
The Old West Church steeple was removed and completely restored.
December 24, 2020
First virtual Christmas Eve service due to the pandemic.
December 24, 2021
The first Christmas Eve Service held outside, directly in front of the church, due to the pandemic.