Harmony Hall
Hampden, Maine

Harmony Hall History

Harmony Hall of Hampden, Maine was built in 1828 as a Universalist Church, dedicated on Christmas Day. One of Hampden's historic treasures, it has been diligently cared for by the Hampden Garden Club. It is located on the Kennebec Road in Hampden.

This Greek revival building is one of Hampden's first public buildings. The Hall boasts a Revere Bell as well as gothic windows and an elaborate gallery. Church services were held by the Methodists and the Congregationalists at this building until they built their own buildings a few years later. Services were held in the building until 1884. The building sat unused for about ten years. In 1895 the Hampden Village Improvement Society was formed and Harmony Hall became their meeting place. At that time some renovations were made. The pews were removed and the stage was installed. In the flavor of "pure Maine ingenuity" the renovators utilized all resources already in the building. The front of the stage was constructed using the sides of the old box pews complete with the original hinges.

During the renovation process it was found that the base of the belfry was badly decayed, and the Revere Bell was in grave danger of falling through the roof into the hall below. A new bell tower was constructed on the front of the building and the Revere Bell was relocated to the front of the building. After the renovations in 1895, the hall was formally christened Harmony Hall.

The Hall has been used by many organizations for fairs, lectures, entertainment and meetings since 1895. In 1898 Susan B. Anthony, the famous suffragist, spoke at Harmony Hall to bring her message of the importance of the right for women to vote! In 1915, a magnificent fresco was painted on the back wall of the stage for a production that was planned but never performed. The painting added an elegant effect to the Harmony Hall and the uniqueness that is enjoyed and appreciated today.

In 2007 the Hall was granted status on the National Register of Historic Places through the efforts of the Hampden Garden Club. The Hampden Garden Club has diligently seen to the care and upkeep of Harmony Hall since 1937. Upon ownership in 1967, the club has raised funds to maintain the hall in the condition you see today. As many of you know, maintaining a building is a continual task. However to keep an old building in historic preservation condition takes great diligence and commitment.

We need the help of our friends and neighbors in Hampden to continue to be good stewards of this great old building. All donations are tax deductible because of the Hampden Garden Club's 501C3 status.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Harmony Hall Preservation Project

pre⋅serve is a verb

Over 100 years ago, the Hampden Village Improvement Society was formed and took over the use of Harmony Hall. They also took on the task of repairing the building for community use. The past post, Harmony Hall Highlights, focused on the beauty of Harmony Hall.

Light shining in through
the beautiful arched windows

It is easy to focus on the light coming in the windows, but windows themselves need major repairs so that they do not fall apart, and the light can keep coming in!

Arched Gothic windows have been braced
to keep them from falling down.

Each year fourth grade classrooms of Hampden, Maine visit Harmony Hall as part of their education. It is a beautiful treasure within walking distance of Hampden schools, and would be a tragedy to lose this beautiful historical building. Consultation with experts on old buildings show that if necessary repairs are not made, the building will begin the process of falling in on itself.

Stairway to the beautiful balcony

The building needs to be jacked up, sills replaced and repaired, granite foundation stones reset, windows repaired, bulging wall fixed, etc. It is best and most cost efficient to try to take care of all these repairs at once.

Granite foundation stones needs resetting.
Sills need shoring up and some replacement.

Bulging wall indicates structural stress

The Hampden Garden Club invites you to help in saving this wonderful historical jewel. The Hampden Garden Club is working very hard to hard to raise $20,000 in seed money to help raise the funds needed to repair and preserve Harmony Hall. The estimate of needed repairs is around $150,000.

Your help is needed to
keep this building alive.

If needed repairs are not made,
this building's future is in jeopardy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Harmony Hall Highlights

Each year the Hampden Garden Club sponsors several events which fund the maintenance of Harmony Hall, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 2007. Above is a picture taken on May 16th of the 2009 Perennial, Plant and Pie Sale from the balcony of Harmony Hall. These events serve two purposes - to raise money for the maintenance of the hall as well as give an opportunity for people to tour Harmony Hall.

Here are some other highlights of Harmony Hall from that day:

Beautiful wooden shutters

Original Gothic Windows

Light shining in through
the beautiful arched windows

Stairway to the beautiful balcony

Looking down the stairs

As you enter the balcony

Looking to the left at the top of the stairs

Original pews in the balcony -
note the wide boards in the floor.

Ladder to the Revere Bell

Revere Bell

Looking to the front of the hall from the balcony

A view across from the front of the gallery

Each year the fourth grade classes of Weatherbee School in Hampden make a trip to Harmony Hall as part of their studies of colonial times. Harmony Hall is filled with history, a history to be preserved and passed on. As with most historic buildings, there are always repairs to be made.

Donations are needed to preserve
this wonderful building steeped
with so much history, and so many
early examples of workmanship.