Have you seen the circular building in Richmond? At This Place in History, with the Vermont Historical Society, we find out it’s not technically circular!
Steve Perkins, the executive director of the Vermont Historical Society, introduces us to some Vermonters that know a thing or two about the Richmond Round Church. But this “round” church is actually a different shape.
“It’s really a unique building in Vermont, and in the nation, but it’s actually not round. It’s a hexadecagon. Which is a 16 sided polygon,” says the State Architectural Historian, Devon Coleman. 
As to the reasoning behind it’s shape, we don’t have a clear answer. But we do know that the builder and contractor was a local, his name was William Rhodes. There is speculation that he got the idea from where his parents lived.
“There were two semi-circle meeting house additions in New Hampshire. In Claremont and one in Concord. In fact, Rhodes’ parents actually lived in Claremont at the time so it’s probable that he saw that being built. But where he came up to build fully in the round for this meeting house, we really don’t know.,” says Coleman.
Back when it was first built it was used for five different religious congregations. It’s not used as a church today, but, it’s still in use!
“Now it’s very commonly used for weddings, we have weddings all season and we welcome more people. We also use it for concerts and every December we have a carol sing where the whole town gathers to sing Christmas carols. That’s coming up on December 4th,” says Mary Ann Barnes of the Richmond Historical Society.
The round church is a special place in Richmond, but it’s also a special place nation-wide. It’s recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the highest form of recognition possible for a historic building in the nation.
To see all of our “This Place in History” stories with the Vermont Historical Society, click here.
Explore more of Vermont’s history! Click here for a map of all of the Vermont’s roadside historic markers.