Eighteen Hundred and Froze to DeathThe year 1816 was known worldwide as "the cold year", "the famine year", and "the year without a summer". Vermonters called it "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death", as snow fell on June 7 and frosts came every subsequent month. The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, an island volcano of Indonesia, was surely the cause, as a cloud of volcanic ash spread throughout much of the world. In Vermont, the devastating loss of crops and livestock, coupled with economic collapse after the war of 1812, caused some 15,000 people to migrate west.
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United Church of Bethel
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A religious revival, begun nationally in 1800, intensified in Vermont with the darkness and frigidity of 1816. In Bethel, five denominations united to build a house of worship. This Federal-style brick church, inspired by the published designs of influential architect Asher Benjamin, was consecrated Christmas Eve 1816. Members of the United Church of Bethel celebrated their building's 200th anniversary in 2016 with a series of events culminating in a bicentennial service on Christmas Eve.