Top, exterior of Otisfield’s Bell Hill Meetinghouse.

OTISFIELD — One hundred years and counting — that’s how long an annual summer service has taken place at the historic Bell Hill Meetinghouse at 191 Bell Hill Road. This year’s event will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The meetinghouse, an Otisfield landmark, has functioned as both a church and a community center, It is now owned by the Bell Hill Meetinghouse Association, a nonprofit group dedicated to preservation and continuing the record of consecutive summer services. The meetinghouse was designed by local architect Nathan Nutting Jr. and is little changed from 1839, when it was completed as the second meetinghouse on the site.

The day’s speaker will be Arron Sturgis, whose topic will be “Your Old House.” Owner of Preservation Timber Framing in Berwick and a board member of Maine Preservation, Sturgis has been involved in historic preservation since 1987 and is eminently qualified to discuss the intricacies of framing old buildings.

Recently he has had a close connection to Otisfield, too, because he spent several months repairing the Bell Hill Meetinghouse’s belfry and steeple, some 90 feet high. His daily climbs up and down the towering exterior scaffolding (since removed) have given him a unique perspective on church construction.

The day’s service will include congregational singing and a prayer for the occasion. Following the service will be some newer traditions: an ice cream social on what was once the town common, and tours of the restored one-room schoolhouse next door, also completed in 1839.

Inside view of the meetinghouse, which will hold its 100th annual summer service on July 28.

Bell Hill Meetinghouse in Otisfield.


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