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History of Christ Episcopal Church

The parish of Christ Episcopal Church in Montpelier, Vermont was founded on September 8, 1840. The first church was located on lower State Street facing Western Avenue, now named Governor Aiken Avenue. In 1868 a new stone church was built on the present State Street site, at a cost of $30,000. Except for the roof and clerestory, the Gothic structure of the second church was constructed entirely of light granite from nearby Barre and Berlin, Vermont. The new church was dedicated on June 2, 1868  “to the worship and service of Almighty God” by Bishop Hopkins of the Diocese of Connecticut.

The exterior of the beautiful new church extended 108 feet by 55 feet, with the tower and spire rising 100 feet above it.

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Unfortunately, over the years the church structure was repeatedly damaged. In 1903, the roof and much of the interior was destroyed by fire. In 1927, the church was nearly ruined by the flood that devastated most of downtown Montpelier.

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After the flood receded, the building was repaired at a cost of $36,000, $6,000 more than the original building. But the flood had undermined the structural integrity of the spire by settling deep soil beneath the church and in 1963, the spire had to be removed.

In 1938, the parish house, seen to the left of the church in the photo at the far bottom was constructed. It was remodeled in 1984, the same year the new courtyard, built directly in front of the parish house, was dedicated. In 2015, we began the process of refurbishing our historic sanctuary, beginning at the northwest corner of the church closest to State Street.  On June 8, 2015 a crane was in place to lift the capstones from the top of the church.  Unfortunately, the crane malfunctioned and it unexpectedly came crashing down on the roof.  Fortunately, no one was injured in the crash.  The following photos chronicle the damage and renovations experienced in the crane collapse of 2015:

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View from top floor of the Capitol Plaza Hotel of collapsed crane. June, 2015.

 

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Demolished crane truck is towed away down State Street.

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Burned timber from fire of 1903 was exposed during 2015 renovations.

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Scaffolding floor to ceiling was necessary to complete required repairs.

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Looking down from the scaffolding into the dusty chancel.

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Since 1840, the city of Montpelier has evolved and grown, and so has Christ Episcopal Church. Today, the church’s location on bustling State Street, across from the Vermont State House, allows it to embrace the title of  a “Cathedral in the Capital City.”  Adjacent to the well-known Montpelier Farmer’s Market, the recently refurbished courtyard continues to provide a calm and restful sanctuary for the entire Montpelier community. We like to think that our courtyard is a place where community conversations are created.  At this time in our history, Christ Episcopal Church is planning an entire renovation of the originally built 1868 sanctuary.   This project will be the most comprehensive renovation to date and we will depend on the people of Montpelier to assist in this historic renovation!  Stop by and visit us.  We hope you will fall in love with our sacred space.