The 165-year-old Montville Center Congregational Church was just listed on the State Register of Historic Places by the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council.
“It’s good news,” said Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel.
The building dates to 1847 but there was an earlier church on the site; it was struck by lightning and some parishioners perished.
In a Sept. 5 letter to the town, Daniel T, Forrest, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, explained that while the designation is honorary and doesn’t prevent the town from selling or demolishing the church, for example, it nonetheless will hopefully “serve to encourage the protection of this important historic resource.”
In the summer of 2011, the town acquired the church for $1 through a quitclaim deed. At the time, Town Planner Marcia Vlaun told Montville Patch she hoped to see the church part of a heritage corridor in town that would connect historic sites through trails and paths.
But that takes money.
“It's good news because now we can go for preservation grants,” McDaniel said Monday night as he made the announcement to the Town Council.
A little history
Not everyone was onboard when the town made its move airing concerns about cost. But it was always the goal to seek historic designation, first at the state and then at the national level, which would make it easier to apply for preservation funding.
Former Montville Patch editor Carrie Jacobson did a
And a opened a window on rich church lore, specifically the lightning strike that changed the history of the site.