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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Until 1834, the Congregational Church was the state church of Massachusetts. The tax-supported status of the Congregational Church reflected a traditionally close connection between civil and religious authority. As a public building, the meetinghouse hosted both religious worship and town meetings. As Massachusetts began the process of slowly disestablishing the Congregational Church, towns moved town meetings out of the meetinghouse. Many constructed special Town Houses, or Town Halls, in which to meet and conduct town business. After 1824, the town of Deerfield held town meetings in the center district schoolhouse located on the town common, building a Town Hall when the school burned in 1841. The building was rotated and expanded to accommodate three schoolrooms as well as town hall space in 1878. Extensive remodeling in 1925 altered the appearance of the building considerably. Based upon the Town Hall in Framingham, Massachusetts, the building now resembled a Greek temple. It remained in use as a town hall until 1955. This photograph was taken sometime between 1880 and 1906, before the 1925 renovations.
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