One of the oldest churches in Rhode Island, Beneficent Church was originally known as the Church of the West Side, established as a separatist group from the First Congregational Church. The church was built in 1810 but was altered in the 1830s to James Bucklin’s design, still evident today. Bucklin’s addition of the Greek portico and gold dome makes it an architectural gem. In the 1980s the gold leaf dome needed repair and the congregation chose to replace it with the less opulent, more durable, copper sheeting visible today. Choosing copper meant the church could focus their finances on their mission of service.
Nicknamed the Round Top, plans were inspired from Dublin by its Irish-born pastor, Rev. James "Paddy" Wilson (1791-1839), making it one of the earliest classical buildings in America. Oldest building on the west side of downtown Providence. The beginnings of some Providence public schools were in the school taught by Paddy Wilson. The meeting house is topped by a wooden copy of Lysicrates' monument to music. The original is in Athens, Greece.
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