Municipality: Bradford, VT
Location: Goshen Road
Site Type: Church
Vt Survey No: --
UTMs: (Zone 18) E: 728450. N: 4880925
National Register Nomination Information:
The Goshen Church is located on a dirt road in a rural section of the town of Bradford. It is a 1-1/2- story, clapboarded rectangular plan structure of post and beam construction set on a pier foundation. The gable roof is sheathed with metal.
On the main (west) elevation simple wooden steps lead to twin panelled doors, flanked by sidelights, slightly recessed in rectangular surrounds. Over each doorway cornice is a triple tympanum composed of a central drop arch flanked by two smaller arches of similar shape. The arches are formed by flat pieces of wood with a capped edge, applied to the wall surface; they also serve as drip moldings.
Centered over each doorway is a 15/15 window with simple wood surround and surmounted by a single drop arch drip molding similar to the central section of the door tympanum. These windows illuminate the interior choir loft. Centered under the gable end is a louvered opening of the same size as the two windows below and surmounted by a similar drip molding.
A triple-tiered tower rises from the ridge at the front gable elevation. The lowest tier is square, clapboarded, with a cornice; the second tier is square, flushboarded, with a rectangular louvered opening on each face, and a cornice. It is crowned by a balustrade with tall, pyramidal finials capping the square corner posts of the balustrade.
There are three 20/20 windows symmetrically spaced and with drop arched drip moldings similar to those on the facade fenestration, on the south, east (rear) and north elevations.
On the interior is a narrow vestibule, approximately six feet deep which contains the closed stair to the balcony directly above and two doors opposite the entrance doors, to the meeting room. The two interior doors and their surrounds are painted to imitate wood graining.
In the meeting room are simple panelled box pews on a wooden floor slightly raked up to the back of the room. The walls above the plain wooden dado rising to window sill level and the shallow vaulted ceiling are plastered. The box pews are oriented to the front (west) or the building where a semicircular pulpit raised on posts is centered between the two entrance doors.
The panelled, convex pulpit is painted to imitate wood graining and the steps leading to the pulpit are painted green, cream and white to imitate marble. The baseboard across the front also features imitation wood graining. Above the pulpit, the balcony, which houses the organ and choir, is concave in plan. The balcony wall is panelled and is capped by a wide (12"), flat, wooden plank, marbleized in grey, cream and black.
Except for maintenance repairs, the building remains significantly unaltered.
The Goshen Church is an excellent and almost completely unaltered example of second quarter nineteenth century vernacular Greek Revival architecture with Gothic Revival detailing. It represents a style of church architecture prevalent in Vermont during a period of population and religious expansion.
In the early nineteenth century a group of residents from the adjacent towns of Bradford and Newbury founded the Goshen Church. It is presumed that the congregation, seeking a milder discipline, broke from an early Calvinistic Baptist Church in Bradford and came under the influence of Dr. Abner Jones, who in the previous year had left a Calvinistic church to found a Christian church in Lyndonville.
The church building was erected in 1834 in Bradford, just south of the Newbury town line, to accommodate a growing congregation from the two towns. Built in a vernacularized version of the popular Greek Revival style, the building is finely proportioned and on the interior features such outstanding components as a bowed pulpit and balcony, and marbleized and artificially grained-wood.
Today the Goshen Church remains unaltered in the same rural setting between the Newbury and Bradford village centers in which it was built over 140 years ago. The building is only used during the summer months when interdenominational programs are conducted.
(1) The Old Goshen Church. Commemorative pamphlet, July 6, 1975.
DATE ENTERED: September 3, 1976.
BACK TO NATIONAL REGISTER PROPERTIES