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Public and religious life in New England during the 18th century centered on the meetinghouse. The meetinghouse hosted both religious worship and town meetings. Early meetinghouses were often quickly and rudely constructed; towns generally replaced them with sturdier and more fashionable structures. The meetinghouse was intentionally among the largest and most imposing in town. Often sited on a hill or rise, meetinghouse steeples made these buildings visible for many miles. Clocks appeared in meetinghouse bell towers as people attached more importance to knowing exactly what time it is. Even people who did not own a "time piece," or watch, could depend upon the meetinghouse clock to "tell time."
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