Barnstable’s West Parish Meetinghouse, the Cape’s second-oldest meetinghouse, has undergone considerable reconstruction: Built in 1717 by a congregation of 22 families that had been forbidden to worship in their Congregationalist fashion in England. In 1721, it was expanded by 18 feet. A bell tower (the first in New England) was added, soon followed by the iconic, four-foot, gilded cock weathervane that still keeps an eye on things.
In the early 1800s, a bell forged in Paul Revere’s foundry was added. Later, the original bell tower was torn down and the bell housed in a smaller spire. In 1953, the structure badly needed restoration. The 1721 addition was removed and it appears much as it did in its original form.
A series of organs came and went, with the current iteration a reproduction of a mid-18th-Century mechanical-action model. Thus does the building continue to evolve, hewing ever closer to its original form.