Jesse Lee Meeting House, dedicated in 1795, is the oldest Methodist church in New England to have remained in continuous use as a Methodist house of worship. Readfield History Walkers will receive a tour of the church on May 21. This photo of Jesse Lee was taken circa 1900. Contributed photo

Readfield History Walkers will have an opportunity to glimpse into East Readfield’s past when they visit the historic Jesse Lee Meeting House at 4 Plains Road and East Readfield Cemetery on Friday, May 21.

Construction of the meeting house was dedicated in 1795 in honor of Lee, the Methodist missionary who had traveled into the then-sparsely populated backcountry by horseback from Virginia two years prior. As Lee preached at the log cabin of Nathaniel Whittier, to Whittier and other early settlers, Lee suggested they build a meeting house, which they did on the 5-acre “Bowdoin Lot” that had been set aside in the 1791 town plan/survey, for the addition of a house of worship, a muster ground and a school.

Today, the meeting house is the oldest Methodist Church to have remained in continuous use as a house of worship in all of New England.

History Walkers will visit the inside of the church while learning more about its history. From there, the walk is to continue across Plains Road to visit the graves of some of the early residents who helped build and attended the church, and to place American flags on the graves of Readfield veterans in observance of Memorial Day.

People can meet at Jesse Lee Church on Plains Road, corner of Plains Road and Route 17, by 10 a.m. May 21. Walking is on level ground or a slight incline with stops along the way. In case of rain, postponement will be announced by 8 a.m. May 21 at; and via email.

To be added to the Readfield History Walkers list, email a request to [email protected]. There is no fee or registration necessary for this event. For more information about the history walk, visit the above website or contact Dale Potter-Clark at the above email address or call 207-441-9184.

Readfield Historical Society’s museum and archives is located at 759 Main St. Readfield Depot and is open by appointment. To make arrangements for an appointment or tour, call 207-377-2299 or email [email protected].

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