Built as a Presbyterian Church in 1820, the 200 year-old Smithfield Community Center has also served as a school, and currently as the town municipal building and the home of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum.
In 1835 the structure was the site of the inaugural meeting of the New York State Antislavery Society.
The Smithfield Community Center was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 1994, designated as one of twenty-four sites on the Heritage NY Underground Railroad Trail in 2004, featured as the image of the Madison County Freedom Trail in 2006, and a partner of the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State in 2015.
The Town of Smithfield and the Smithfield Community Association in Peterboro, Madison County, NY, are commencing SCC 200 MORE, a year-long commemoration of the 200 year-old building.
In the Proclamation, T.J. Stokes, Supervisor for the Town of Smithfield summarized the history of the building, called forth those who cherish the building to gather memories and ideas to share and to publish, and encouraged interested parties to assemble resources to assure another two hundred years for the building. The central objectives of the year’s celebration are to raise awareness of the needs of the building, to accrue monies to leverage more funding, and to sustain stewardship for two hundred more years.
Donna Dorrance Burdick, Town of Smithfield historian, provided a video timeline of the Smithfield Community Center (SCC) describing the building’s names, events, and designations. Burdick also explained why the building was at one time called the Evans Academy. Senator Rachel May and Assemblyman John Salka also issued proclamations for the Community Center.
More information is available on the Peterboro website, or by calling (315) 280-8828. Send questions, ideas, pictures, and memories to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Smithfield Community Association, PO. Box 6, Peterboro NY 13134.
Photo of Smithfield Community Center provided.