… open the doors and see all the people.”
The church we’re talking about here is the Greenmanville Church at Mystic Seaport. The steeple is there and the doors are still open, but these days the only people you’re likely to see in the church are visitors like yourself.
It wasn’t always that way. In fact, in the 1850s, and for the next generation as well, this Seventh Day Baptist Church had a vibrant congregation of ship builders and their families. Their beliefs had them involved in all sorts of social issues such as opposing slavery and supporting the temperance movement.
However, when the heyday of Mystic’s shipbuilding activity declined in the 1870s and 1880s, the congregation was eventually depleted, and the church finally closed its doors in 1904.
Mystic Seaport acquired the church building in 1955 and it was then moved to its present location in the Museum’s Anchor Circle. At that time, the clock in the steeple was added as part of the church restoration process.
The clock, manufactured in 1857, is on permanent loan from Yale University where it had been located in the Old South Sheffield Hall of the Sheffield Scientific School. The elaborate clockworks that make this clock tick are quite amazing and can be viewed inside the church.
As devout followers of the Old Testament, Saturday rather than Sunday was the day of worship for the Greenmanville Seventh Day Baptist congregation. Although there are no sermons delivered in the church today, many brides and grooms choose to have their wedding ceremony performed in the historic setting of the Greenmanville Church. Now isn’t that romantic! *
So, whether old churches capture your imagination, or old clocks intrigue you, or if you are simply a romantic at heart … there’s a pew waiting for you at Mystic Seaport’s Greenmanville Church. Come sit awhile!
Remember to visit our website at www.mysticseaport.org to see all of the Museum’s daily offerings.
*If you would like to get married at the Greenmanville Church, please call Seamen’s Inne at Mystic Seaport at 860.572.5305.