The Willis Theater

Luckily, there is a great Historical Society here in the Town of Corinth and many thanks to Norm Collette who compiled some history of this cool building!

On September 3rd, 1844, the town agent was instructed to deed or lease the Old Meeting House to the First Congregational Church Society. Two months later, $700 was voted to build the Town House (The Willis Theater) 40′ square.   At Town Meeting 1845, the location was approved on the south side of the road on land owned by Dr. Adoniram Smalley. When deeded to the town, the lot would be 6 rods one way & 4 rods the other. The New Meeting House was built by Melitiah Willis who owned the Tavern at that time, and he allowed Town Meeting then in session at the Meeting House, to adjourn to the New Town House for inspection on July 12th, 1845. So pleased were the townspeople with their New Meeting House, that they voted use of the New Town House to the Congregational Society until much needed repairs were completed to their church.   At another Town Meeting in September the House was accepted as built, and the Town Clerk to have charge of the key. At the 4th Meeting in November, the selectmen were directed to buy a stove within the week, Amos Little, J.A. Tenny, R.N. Robie, Hiram Robie, and Erdix Tenney to have charge of fires in the building when singing school was held there during the ensuing years.   In more recent years, until I can further study this history, you will have to talk with Neysa, Earl Adams & Dona Meyer (spelling?) for more information.   Purchased by Earl Adams & Susan Shea in 2000?. The building was lifted, moved back & a new foundation was placed under it. Earl Adams was related to the original builder Melitiah Willis, and thus his wife Dona Meyer, named the building the Willis Theater.   The 1845 Meetinghouse was sold 103 years later in 1948 to the Seventh Day Adventists for a church. Most likely the pews that were in it were built by the Seventh Day Adventists after their purchase of the building in 1948. This is when the town stopped using it for town meetings and started having them at the Academy which was built in 1846 and housed a community hall on the second floor and Masonic headquarters on the third. The town clerk’s office at this time was located with its vault behind the school across the road in what was originally Benjamin Scribner then Hastings Store before being turned into a schoolhouse around 1947-48.