Story of the Building
The framework of the original meeting house was constructed in 1807 by Woodstock’s architect and builder, Nathaniel Smith, and remains today with the original arrangement of windows and three-stage tower. In 1818 a committee of three journeyed to Boston and purchased a bell for the tower from Paul Revere and Sons.
Original church before 1880 – Courtesy Woodstock Historical Society
The original chapel of 1859 was moved to the rear of the meeting house and renovated into a parlor (now a library and music room) in 1880, the same year the current Billings Chapel was erected. The Billings Chapel was constructed in the eclectic Queen Anne style by architect H. Hudson Holly of New York. The Tiffany stained glass windows were added in 1894.
The meeting house was extensively rebuilt, again by architect H. Hudson Holly, in 1890. The present narthex at the front of the church was added at that time, with a hip roofed porch on the south and porte cochere (for horse-drawn carriages) on the north. The Howard manual clock in the tower (still wound by hand) and Tiffany stained glass windows also date to this time.
In 1955 an addition was added to the rear of the Billings Chapel which now houses the church nursery and Woodstock Christian Child Care. The present 3 manual, 35 rank Austin pipe organ was installed in 1968. The area below the sanctuary was excavated in 1972 and now is divided into classrooms. In 1974 a crack was discovered in the Revere Bell, which has been replaced, and is displayed on the south porch.
The interior of the sanctuary was restored in 1993 under the direction of architect Stephen Smith of Burlington incorporating elements of the 1890 H.H. Holly reconstruction and a 1951 remodeling by architect Payson Rex Webber of Rutland. The interior of the Billings Chapel was also restored under the direction of architect Stephen Smith and dedicated to the memory of Mary French Rockefeller in 1997.
As beautiful as these physical improvements may be, and as privileged as we are to use and maintain them to the glory of God, we with the apostle Paul “count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).