By Pat Rist, President, Historical Society
On April 21st at 11:00 a.m. the Bethel Historical Society located at 40 Main Street invites the public to the opening of a metal box that has been sealed inside the cornerstone since 1912.
The subject appears in History of a Yankee Church, by Lewis E. Good sell, Sr., released in 1960 and again in 1976, and from Church records is the following: In 1910 it was planned to raise funds for a parish building and in April of that year, Mrs. Henry H. Baird presented the First Congregational Church of Bethel with the ground for the building. The cornerstone, for the First Church House was laid with appropriate services on July 21, 1912, at 6:30 p.m. In 1919, it was sold to I.F. Terry for a Community House. Later it was sold to the Masonic Fraternity.
Throughout the building’s history, it proved to be too expensive for the Church to operate. Later, the community found it could not operate the building successfully, and most recently, the building fell to the same fate when members of the Masonic Temple were unable to mainatin the building.
A project that began with such enthusiasm in 1912 came to its final end in 2012. Residents agree the building will not be forgotten and hope that the box contains paperwork that will provide even more history on this project for the people of Bethel.