Why is the Union Meeting House on the National Register of Historic Places?

Architectural historians, scholars specializing in old buildings and the proverbial man or woman on the street can recognize that the Union Meeting House stands out from all other similar religious buildings they have visited. When it was placed on The National Register of Historic Places it was called “a handsome late Federal style brick church unusally refined for such a rural context.”

But when one enters, it is the interiors – the sanctuary, apse and choir loft that makes people say “wow”. Yes people can travel to Pompeii or Italy or to the great cathedrals of France, Germany and Austria and see examples of Trompe l’oeil murals. But why spend all that time and money when one of the finest examples of the art, as practiced in mid-nineteenth century America, can be found in Readfield, a small rural community a few miles from Maine’s state capital of Augusta? For both the classic exterior and the striking interior the “Brick Church” was placed on The National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

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