Wellwood's General Store
On this site sits the oldest standing General Store building in the nation. The first building at this location (1787) housed the store and small living quarters that is now part of the adjoining residence. not much of the early history is known, but the Loomis Family owned the store from about 1810 until 1881 though it was rented for many of those years. The large Greek Revival portion of the structure was erected in 1820, with the "grain room" and "butcher shop" addition (to the west) added in 1883. A stagecoach stopped here on its way to the railroad station on Depot Road from the 1850's to the 1890's. the trolley passed by the front porch from 1909 to 1926. Deliveries were made by carriage, then later by open sided delivery truck.
The store became the functional center of South Coventry Village with the library next door and the Post Office, as it was then, across the street. the building is also rumored to have been part of the underground railroad until the end of the Civil War. The building is historically known as the Wellwood Store as the Wellwood Family owned and operated the store from 1905 to 1963 as the "Old Country Store." The store has been an antiques shop/general store to the present time.
The Methodist Church
the records of a Methodist Society in Coventry date from 1822, it is almost certain that Methodism flourished earlier that century. Lorenzo Dow makes mention of earlier Methodist worship, and in 1797 he preached the funeral sermon of S. Parker, the first Methodist leader in South Coventry. Early meetings were in private homes and school houses, and the first church was erected adjacent to the Town Green in what is now Patrick's Park in the 1830's This building was dedicated on July 17, 1867. The foundation is made from locally quarried granite.
Interest waned in the 1920's and the 1938 hurricane destroyed the west tower. The building was repaired. but the tower was not re-constructed. The facture shown is prior to the hurricane. In 1944 the membership was so few that the parishioners could not maintain the chapel and in 1949 they merged with the Bolton Methodist church.
The building was used for many years as a community house for social gatherings, society meetings, concerts and plays, Boy Scout meetings, school classes and such. In the 1990's it held several antique Stores. In 2003 it was purchased by a local contractor, and refurbished for retail space keeping many elements of the old "Sanctuary."
An eccentric and independent itinerant Methodist minister was born in 1777 in Coventry. He had a zealous spirituality
that lead him on a mission of conversion throughout the eastern United States, England and Ireland. He frequently noted the value of his reputation as "Crazy Dow" that brought congregations to his camp meetings. At his death on February 2, 1834 he was considered the most widely known and perhaps most traveled man in America.
The Meetinghouse Tree, 1912
The large elm in the middle of Mason Street was known as the Meetinghouse Tree because notices were mailed to the face informing the townspeople of local news and events. In this picture you can see the Wellwood Store, the trolley and the original library building.