The Friends Society's oldest church is also the oldest continually house of worship in North America.
While driving around in Maryland and scanning my map for potential points of interest, I saw Third Haven Quaker Church, 1682. I love the Friends Society, and I knew this one was worth checking out. I pulled into their lovely tree-lined driveway and parked near a brick building. Beside it was an old wooden white building, which I deduced was the older building.
I went inside and looked around, admiring the enduring woodwork. After spending a few minutes inside, I went out again, where I was greeted by Clay, the groundskeeper. He had been mowing when I arrived, and he wanted to say hello and bid me welcome. We had a lovely conversation about the grounds and the earliest settlers.
"The main entrance used to be on this side," he told me. "For a very long time, this land was only accessible by water. The creek down the way was once navigable, and people came by their boats. The roads didn't go in for another hundred years after the community formed."
The red brick building was a more modern facility that had been built for most church functions. There were a few other buildings as well, but mostly the estate was field and forest, with a good-sized graveyard. As I walked through the graveyard, I noticed something interesting. I'd say around eight out of the ten stones I looked at marked the lives of people who lived into their late eighties and mid nineties. And a whole bunch more lived to their seventies. And this is going back several hundred years, when people supposedly didn't live too long. Even by today's standards these are long lives.
How wonderful that the Friends Society has preserved this historic building and maintained such a beautiful park around it.