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Sparta, Sussex County
A unique belfry or steeple adorns this large
post Civil War church at the center of Sparta. The congregation was organized
by 1830, and in 1868 this imposing frame building was erected, and the large
churchyard to the rear laid out. The ground floor meeting rooms would have been
used for Sunday School and other church and community purposes, with the main
auditorium on the second floor, which was a common plan after about 1860, particularly
for Methodist churches.
This is the congregation’s second building.
The first was erected in 1837
when “for some reason not exactly clear” according to Snell, the
Methodists were denied the use of the local schoolhouse. In the nineteenth century,
it was common for the school or the courthouse to be used for religious services. The
building now houses an Institute for Spiritual Development (presumably a religious
rather than educational operation) and an engineering office.