I’d Never Heard of Abington Either
Abington Meeting House and the Abington Social Library
February 2, 2008
I am yet again confronted by the question of whether or not something is CTMQ-worthy. I think we all now know that that mythical dividing line keeps getting pushed back further and further. EdHill and I were just driving around the bucolic eastern Connecticut countryside on our way to Frog Rock, minding our own business.
Then, out of nowhere, came the unexpected pleasure of gazing upon what is, depending on your source, “The oldest Connecticut church in continuous use,” “the oldest ‘still standing’ CT meeting house,” “the oldest ecclesiastical building in the State of Connecticut, or all of the above. Whatever it is, it sure is New Englandy and it’s important enough to be on the National Register of historic places.
Yes, the Abington Congregational Church is the oldest ecclesiastical building in the State of Connecticut. The State has installed an official historical marker across the street from the church. It was built in 1751, and is one of the few surviving examples of the peg and beam construction typical of 18th century New England. In 1977 it was included on the National Register of Historic Places. Notably, it is across Route 97 from a 1750’s cemetery that houses 80+ Revolutionary soldiers.
So… Abington? Abington is, of course, a village within the town of Pomfret (the others are Elliots, Pomfret Landing and Pomfret Center) which is only interesting in the context of my finally getting a decent explanation of Connecticut’s insane town/village/city naming conventions – only to be confused further by learning that there are some so-called boroughs still in Connecticut that are different.” I don’t know why, but I am truly fascinated by this whole thing. (More on that in the Killingly (Town) Historical Museum report -which was in the Danielson part of Killingly, formerly known as Danielsonville, as you know.)
Oh look, I just found out that some villages in CT are officially actually “neighborhoods” or “sections of” the towns. You don’t care… but you do care about the Abington Social Library which was built in 1833. Established in 1793, it is the oldest active Ladies’ Library in the United States. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what that means and Ed and I didn’t try to gain entry either. Heck, we didn’t even take a picture of it, so this one must be credited to Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
We certainly drove by it (it’s right next to the church) and noted, “What’s a social library?” So that counts. From another website I found, “The oldest active library formed by women in America.” Now you know.
For the Curious: