As autumn approaches, many of us are looking to travel north in search of the vibrant changing colors of the leaves. No doubt that New Hampshire is a prime location for the picturesque fall season. In the little town of Eaton, New Hampshire sits an iconic church appropriately named the Little White Church. The Little White Church, built in 1879, is a town landmark. It’s the quintessential, picture-perfect church, including reflections in the adjoining lake and the church’s white steeple surrounded by the brilliant color of the trees in the surrounding mountains.
The historic building is one of the most photographed churches in all of New England. The church was built in 1879 by the Eaton congregation of Free Will Baptists. The building itself can seat 200 people under its 18 ft. vaulted ceiling. The top of the church features a spire that reaches more than 80 ft. off the foundation with a large weathervane situated on top. The steeples are made of wood and require frequent maintenance. In fact, the steeple and belfry had deteriorated so much over the years that it had to be dismantled in 2019 and a funding campaign to replace and rebuild it took place.
But the renovation was no easy task. The Eaton church steeple is three-tiered, with the tower coming out of the gable roof. The next tier is the belfry, which originally began as a lantern or lookout with four large windows. The view from the lookout was considered one of the best views of the landscape in New England, especially during the fall.
Renovations on the spire and belfry began in late June 2019 and the spire was lowered to the ground in pieces by rope. Once the spire was rebuilt, the most daunting task was raising the 850-pound bell from storage in the tower up above the belfry floor. The bell, housings and large wooden pulley were strategically and meticulously placed. By the end of 2020, in spite of delays in fundraising and COVID-19, the monumental task was completed.
Once again, people gathered for services, weddings, memorials and celebrations at the Little White Church. The building is a mainstay and iconic symbol for the little New England town and visitors are welcome year-round. The Little White Church is located at 2371 Eaton Rd. in Eaton Center, New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.littlewhitechurch.com.