Columbia Falls Town Hall - Columbia Falls, ME
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 44° 39.206 W 067° 43.716
19T E 600808 N 4945238
Quick Description: Dedicated in January, 1841, this Greek Revival building served the community of Columbia Falls as a church until 1902, and as town hall until 1987.
Location: Maine, United States
Date Posted: 5/30/2016 9:29:20 PM
Waymark Code: WMRA85
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 1

Long Description:
Though the neither designer nor the builder of the church are known, it is evident that they were persons of considerable talent. Not ostentatious in its decoration, it is, nevertheless a quite pleasing building to behold, especially its three stage bell tower. The tower contains the majority of the exterior embellishment, with several Roman ogee brackets set below the cornice of its lower stage. Above, in the second stage, is the belfry, containing its original bell, cast in 1840 by G. H. Holbrook of East Medway, Massachusetts. On each of the four sides of the belfry are large clock faces, installed in 1889 through the efforts of the young ladies of the community who formed a society to raise money for the clock. The clockworks were manufactured by E. Howard & Co. of Boston. Above the belfry is a flat roof with a finely dentilled cornice, atop which is a very decorative weather vane.

The church was built by the Union Church Society as a nondenominational church, which it apparently remained through its life as a church. In 1903 attendance had dropped to the point where the society bequeathed the building to the town for use as a town hall. The bequest was made with one proviso - that the exterior would not be altered, which it hasn't. The interior, however, has undergone major renovations, however, the major one coming about in 1949-50 when the interior was converted to a gymnasium for use by the nearby school. The building remained the Columbia Falls Town Hall until 1987, then apparently served as the town library and archives for a time. We have been unable to ascertain its present status or use.

Mounted on the front of the church-town hall is a bronze plaque, presented to the town by the Columbia Falls Recreation Committee, which relates a bit of the history of the building. Text ftom the plaque follows.

COLUMBIA FALLS TOWN HALL

The Union Church was built in 1840 by the Union Meetinghouse Association to be used for non-denominational worship.

In 1898 the bell was donated to the church by the Columbia Falls Women's Society.

In 1903 the Church was deeded to the Town to be used as the Town Hall.

This plaque presented to the Town of Columbia Falls by the Recreation Committee.

1997


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Union Church

The (Former) Union Church in Columbia Falls is a striking Greek Revival style frame edifice that was dedicated in January, 1841. Its evidently talented builder is as yet unidentified. In 1949-50, the building's interior was altered for use as a gymnasium and auditorium, but its exterior appearance remains largely unchanged. The former church is eligible for nomination to the National Register under criterion A for its association with local community functions and criterion C for its architectural significance. Criteria Consideration A also applies because of its original religious function.

Columbia Falls was initially settled by Euro-Americans shortly after the conclusion of the Revolution, but the town itself was not incorporated until 1863 after being set off from Columbia. In 1850, the combined population of the two towns was 1,140 persons. The first church building in the Town of Columbia was constructed in 1829 by the Baptists, but was subsequently known as the Columbia Union Church (NR 6/20/97). Both a Methodist Church and the Union Church were built at Columbia Falls in 1840.

Little is known about the early history of the Union Church in Columbia Falls, except that the young ladies of the community formed a society to purchase a clock for the belfry (installed in 1889), and that by 1903 the church group had declined to a point that the trustees of the Union Meeting House turned the building over to the town for use as a town hall. Apparently, one of the stipulations of this transfer was that while the interior could be altered to accommodate the new use, the exterior could not. The former church appears to have taken on the function of a community center, since it is reported that a basketball court had been established inside prior to the 1949-50 school year. At that time, the interior was substantially remodeled to create a gymnasium and stage for the nearby school. It continued to be used for school functions such as plays, graduation ceremonies, and physical education classes, and for annual town meetings until 1987 when a new community building was constructed...

...Although its interior has been dramatically altered, the well preserved exterior architectural features of the Union Church make it an important example of the Greek Revival style religious buildings erected in Maine's small towns. The composition of its facade with its paneled pilasters, broad entablature, pediment, columns in antis, and flush sheathing, as well as the unusual design of the tower constitute a particularly striking interpretation of the style. The original bell still exists in the tower. It was cast in 1840 by G. H. Holbrook of East Medway, Massachusetts. In 1889 a clock was installed in the tower, resulting in the removal of the original rectangular louvered openings and the substitution of paired round arched openings and clock faces. The clockworks were manufactured by E. Howard & Co. of Boston.
From the NRHP Nomination Form

Group that erected the marker: Columbia Falls Recreation Committee

URL of a web site with more information about the history mentioned on the sign: [Web Link]

Address of where the marker is located. Approximate if necessary:
194 Main Street
Columbia Falls, ME USA
04623


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