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Richmond's Round Church celebrates 200 years - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Richmond's Round Church celebrates 200 years

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RICHMOND, Vt. -

If you've been through Richmond, chances are you've seen it.

"Well, I consider it the town treasure," said Harriet Riggs, the Richmond town historian.

Fran Thomas, the president of the Richmond Historical Society, said, "In Richmond this is sort of our claim to fame."

That claim to fame is the Richmond Round Church.

"It's really huge," said Elise Killian, a seventh-grader at Camel's Hump Middle School.

This year, the round church is turning 200 years old.

"It's just amazing that it is still standing," said Maygan Thompson, a seventh-grader.

The church was originally designed as a multipurpose space that held services for many different religious groups, as well as Richmond's town meetings.

"On the outside it looks like it is not that big, then you go inside and it is just huge and there are like two floors, and it is just so beautiful and amazing that this is part of Richmond," Thompson said.

A part of Richmond that's perhaps best known for its shape.

"It's just very unique how it is 16-sided," Killian said.

Riggs say there are a number of theories behind the design.

"There are lots of stories. One is to keep the devil out of the corner; another is to keep the enemy from hiding behind the corner; and another story is that 17 men built it, 16 each building a side and the 17th adding the belfry," she said.

So what else was happening in 1813 when the building was being completed? James Madison was president, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" hit shelves for the first time and pineapples made their way to Hawaii.

"As the kids would say, awesome," Riggs said. "It's great that it has lasted this long and looks so good."

The church's looks are holding up so well in part due to the hard work of historical society volunteers who regularly welcome school groups and visitors inside.

"I think it is pretty special for a small town like this to have a building that old that represents a lot of the history of the town," Thomas said.

A history that has this special space at its core-- a space its biggest supporters say has a bright future ahead.

"Well, I hope it goes on and on," Riggs said. "It will outlast all of us I expect."

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