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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Union Meetinghouse/Universalist Church
Reference Number 13000008
State New Hampshire
County Rockingham
Town Kensington
Street Address 97 Amesbury Road, Kensington, NH
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 02/13/2013
Areas of Significance Architecture
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The Universalist Church is nominated for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C for significance in the Area of Architecture. The property is significant at the local level, as an excellent example of a mid-nineteenth century rural church in the Greek Revival style and as a recognized landmark in the Town of Kensington. The church retains the character-defining architectural features and details, materials, and craftsmanship that convey its architectural significance as a mid-nineteenth-century Greek Revival rural church and reflecting the design and workmanship of the local builders Josiah B. Sanborn and Dearborn T. Blake. The form, massing, and decorative detailing are all characteristic of this type, style, and period of construction. The distinguishing features that constitute the style include the wood-frame construction, gable-front facade with two entries with sidelights and frontispieces with pilasters supporting an entablature, molded comer pilasters, closed pediment with blind semi-circular fanlights, and tall 20/20 sash windows on the side elevations illuminating the auditorium. The belfry, though a later addition, was done well within the historic period. Local sources and the framing evidence suggest a ca. 1860 date for the addition. The detailing of the belfry closely resembles the original decorative trim of the church and the style and form is in keeping with the character-defining architectural features of the Greek Revival style. The interior with an integral vestibule, comer stairs to the gallery, two aisles, and slip pews is significant for its original finishes such as plastered walls and coved ceiling, grained auditorium doors, in addition to its original low pulpit with Grecian furniture. The Universalist Church has a high degree of architectural integrity making the property a good example of the building practices of a particular time in history. The Period of Significance for the property represents the years of its design, construction, and completion, 1839-1840, through 1870, with the completion of the steeple addition ca. 1860 when it fully attained the character-defining features of its architecture. The Universalist Church meets National Register Criteria Consideration A for religious properties because it has significance in the Area of Architecture.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria