In a drawer filled with folders of meeting house images, I found a folder with four images of Burlington Meeting House. Three of the drawings (pictured in the thumbnails below) appear to be drawings of the first meeting house built in 1683. This meeting is unusual because it is hexagonal. Throughout my time with meeting houses (and regular houses too), I have seen many rectangular and square ones, but very few hexagonal ones. I have not been able to find any information about why they built such an oddly shaped meeting house.
Unfortunately, this unusual meeting house met its end in the 1780s, when another meeting house was built in close proximity to it.
The fourth image is a little mysterious. I assumed when I was scanning it that it was a plan for the new Burlington Meeting House. So I took a look at images of the building on Triptych. I soon realized that I was wrong. Some digging did not get me very far, which is not surprising considering that the plan is undated. Hoping to find out more about the person who drew the plans, I tried to find information on Wm. Dillwyn. From what I could find out, he was born in Philadelphia, and married his first wife in Burlington, NJ. However, he lived in England when the new meeting house was built, so he may or may not have submitted this plan. It is also possible that there was another William Dillwyn living in the area at the time.
Even without knowing the exact history of the plan, it was really interesting to see the detailed notes and drawings for a meeting house, which is something I had not come across before this image.
Regardless of the roadblocks, trying to figure out this architectural mystery was quite enjoyable. It’s just too bad that there seems to be no clear answer.
For more images of Burlington Meeting House, check out Triptych.