Crews and machinery arrived early Wednesday to restore the giant posts and beams of the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse. The historic building — once a platform for early leaders of equal rights and social justice — is undergoing complete restoration.
The 19th century Meetinghouse, in a historic district at the intersection of Sheldon Road and County Road 8, will become a museum celebrating its heritage and those who spoke there. Think Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony, among others.
Many people involved in ensuring the success of the Meetinghouse restoration were on hand to watch the work and gathered inside Farmington Friends Church across the intersection. Lyle Jenks, a trustee for Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum, led introductions of those around the table and talked about the progress.
The massive timber-frame building was a Quaker meetinghouse from 1816 to 1927, when it was moved and converted to a barn. In 2006, when a wind storm blew off a wall, demolition seemed unavoidable. But the catastrophe galvanized a small group of local supporters to preserve and restore this nationally significant building. Jenks noted that Farmington Friends Church, a Quaker meeting long involved in social justice and equal rights, donated the land where the Meetinghouse sits. The church now serves as a temporary museum until the Meetinghouse is fully restored.
Farmington Friends “caught the vision, they said ‘let’s make it happen,’” Jenks said.
A number of supporters present shared their excitement for the restoration project that has garnered national attention. The Meetinghouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and the National Collaborative of Women’s History Sites.