For the past few weeks, I have been scanning and cataloging pictures of meeting houses from all over the United States. Photographs, newspaper clippings, and post cards document the many variations of these buildings. Although they share the same function, meeting houses varied in their locations, materials, and styles.
The meeting houses that I have found were spread all over the country from Philadelphia to Seattle. Their locations in time varied too. The earliest I worked on was the High Street or Great Meeting House in Philadelphia from the 1690s!
Trying to find the histories for the meeting houses can be a daunting task, but it is very interesting to learn about how they evolved over time. Many meeting houses started out as log structures. As time passed, more permanent stone or brick structures replaced these earlier buildings.
A unique example of a more ephemeral meeting house is one in Kansas. Dating to 1885, the Haviland Friends Church started out as a building constructed of sod!
Buildings featured many different styles. Most of them were simple one or two-story buildings; however, there were some exceptions to the rule. There were several large Greek Revival buildings and a few that had Gothic details.
Working with these images has been really interesting so far. The most challenging ones are the unknown meeting houses, but it is fun to be a detective!
For more information and images of meeting houses, see Triptych.