The South Church meetinghouse owes its design to the prior work of two Massachusetts architects, whose buildings were replicated through central New Hampshire and converged at Newport, which blended Damon's brick arcades with Carter's double-octagon steeples.
elias carter (1781–1864)
Elias Carter was a Worcester (MA), architect and house-builder active in central/western Massachusetts in the early 1800s. His first church commission was at Brimfield (1805), but the building has since been replaced. His Templeton (MA) church, built in 1810, was copied along a string of meetinghouses extending north to New Boston (NH) in 1823. His church at Mendon (MA), built in 1820, was also widely copied throughout the area. Both had distinctive steeples.
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isaac damon (1781–1862)
Isaac Damon was born in 1781. At age 30, he moved from Weymouth (MA) to Northampton (MA). Over the course of his career, Damon built at least 13 churches, 14 other buildings, and 25 bridges. Most were constructed in the lower Connecticut River Valley, but his bridge work took him farther afield. His fully-enclosed bell towers and steeples are easily recognized. He retired in 1852 at the age of 71 and died ten years later.