The Meeting Hall

The old church came alive with carols, but we sang in our coats and blankets and have been celebrating ever since.

This Meeting House was built in 1822. The building has been completely restored and features an antique reed organ, a gift from William Butler, and an early Hammond electric organ, a gift from Richard Hook. The bell in the steeple was removed from New Haven Railroad steam locomotive #1380 about 50 years ago by Rodney Bailey. This old meeting house and the internationally recognized National Register scientific collection sits in the 1988 nationally designated Tillinghast Road Historic District, and is an important part of our town, state, and country.

This charming hall can be rented for various functions, and will seat 110. There is a large grassy area to the side of the meeting hall suitable for a reception tent.

Moving and renovation

In 1972 this classic building was threatened with demolition when the Frenchtown Baptist Church was planning to tear it down. Marion Fry, once the president of the East Greenwich Preservation Society and president of the Town Council, persuaded them to donate it to the museum. She knew we needed a meeting hall, as well as a place for our growing electrical library.

The museum volunteers pitched in under the excellent supervision of Dick Hanson. He organized the electric and phone companies to cut the wires. The police and fire departments closed the road. The Seabees dug the cellar hole for the new foundation as a training exercise. Many private donors supplied other inevitable expenses.

In December 1972, when the building was sitting on bare studs over the new foundation, Marion said: “Let’s have a Carol Sing to celebrate.” The evening of the Sing, it was 9 degrees. Phil Lillibridge rigged his portable heaters in the yet-to-be-closed basement. The old church came alive with carols, but we sang in our coats and blankets and have been celebrating ever since.