Excerpt from 'An Historical Address delivered at the Rededication of the Congregational Church in West Brattleboro by Rev. C. H. Merrill, Pastor, December 14, 1886:
On Sunday morning, Feb. 2, 1845, between the time for ringing the first and second bells, the old house, the frame of which was raised in 1785 and had stood for nearly sixty years, was burned to the ground. It was an extremely cold day. The sexton had built the fire in the stoves, rung the bell at nine o'clock, and gone away leaving the house closed. When first discovered, in less than half an hour later, the flames were bursting from windows and doors, and the whole interior was ablaze. In less than an hour it was in ruins. The short item in the Brattleboro Phoenix of February 7, after announcing the event adds that the building was quite old and somewhat out of repair, that the society had for some time been thinking about rebuilding, and that the loss was principally upon the clock and bell. The following week, however, an apology appears from the editor, in which he says, in effect, by way of soothing the injured feelings of the West parish, that the building was not so poor after all, but a very good house of its kind, and that the frame was an especially good one.
Between the lines we may read the truth which tradition confirms, that the Rev. Mr. Kidder had been trying for some time without success to induce the society to make a move towards remodeling the ancient structure. The relations had already become somewhat strained between himself and the parish, when the fire came and swept both minister and church away, leaving the ground clear for a new building and a new man. Before the ashes of the old house were cold, Mr. Kidder resigned.
West Bee Nursery
West Bee Nursery School is a parent cooperative that honors childhood by supporting diverse families and educating children in a play-based environment, emphasizing explo-ration, creativity and wonder. The curriculum is designed to provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for social and physical devel-opment, musical expression, number concepts and pre-literacy skills. Our church provides their space, at a reduced rent.