Moving Forward After The Steeple Raising
The Acworth Meetinghouse Restoration Project was far from finished after our historic Steeple Raising on June 2009.
The work continued throughout 2010, with the completion of all the exterior restoration work with exterior scraping and painting, redoing all windows and adding new storm window protection and
The Acworth Meetinghouse Restoration Project Committee is now ready to put the future care of the Meetinghouse into the hands of the brand new Friends of the Acworth Meetinghouse.
The Meetinghouse Friends is a nonprofit corporation formed as a separate organization outside the United Church of Acworth to provide building maintenance and stewardship for the Meetinghouse in the years to come.
The Meetinghouse Friends will continue the Restoration Committee’s work. Now that the Restoration Committee has completed the building exterior with all necessary repairs and gleaming coats of paint, the Meetinghouse Friends will work with the United Church on the building interior including safe electrical and heating systems and an updated kitchen.
In 2011 the Meetinghouse will be 190 years old and we hope you will help us celebrate. The Meetinghouse Friends are planning a 2011 Open House and planting of a 50 year time capsule which will preserve the historical record of the Restoration.
Most of all we hope you will join the Friends of the Acworth Meetinghouse as they plan for the building’s third century in service to Acworth and its greater community. Membership for 2011 is honorary to all of the Restoration’s donor family but contributions to the electrical, heating or kitchen projects would be gratefully accepted.
Acworth and New Hampshire’s own Fritz Wetherbee has chronicled the story of the Restoration in a beautiful DVD which will be available in 2011. Orders for the DVD “Restoring the Acworth Meetinghouse” can be placed by returning the coupon at right.
Own an Original Piece of the 1821 Structure!
Acworth Meetinghouse Artifacts
Own an original piece of the 1821 Structure with a custom made cutting/serving board. A local craftsperson has created these mementos from the remaining materials of the restoration. They have been cleaned and treated for use with mineral oil only.
Large long Board: $20.00
Acworth Meetinghouse Project Progress, 2010
Since last summer, when we finally placed the lantern of the Steeple back upon the Meetinghouse, the Restoration committee has been working hard to replace the funding that was depleted by that phase of the Project. Since we are a small village of 900 residents, we have been amazed at the response to the continuation of financial support for the restoration of the Meetinghouse building.
Good news has just been received by the committee that our second grant from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program for $130,000 has been approved; with the proviso that we will raise the matching funds of $65,000. We are happy to announce that that additional funding is now in place and we have begun the exterior work with the coming of good weather. This new funding will be just enough this coming year’s work; so we will need to continue fund raising for the completion of all the remaining exterior work and begin the planning stage of the interior. To date, with your help, we have been fortunate to raise more than 2/3's of the final goal of $1,000,000. Your support is much appreciated.
A second donation has just been received for $30,000 from the Jonathan Clowes family to be used toward the interior wiring, new community kitchen and handicapped accessible lavatories. Since the Meetinghouse provides the only public kitchen in the community, this is a much needed facility. The Meetinghouse is part of Acworth’s Hazardous Mitigation Plan and is used to feed and house those who are in need during community emergencies.
During this past winter, the committee removed all the no longer needed support cribbing from the top floor below the tower base right down to the basement in anticipation of the planned work for 2010. This year’s project work will include the removal of the old paint and the repainting of the Meetinghouse exterior, the continued restoration of the interior steeple with a ceiling inside the bell tower, the installation of the tower window and a much of the restoration of the Meetinghouse 12 over 12 windows. Although this list seems less than other phases, it will take just as much time and expertise to accomplish. A second egress from the upstairs sanctuary will be studied for the best way to accomplish it. Local contractors are continuing to work with our Project leaders, John Putnam and Ken Christie.
We have been given the responsibility of restoring and maintaining, The Acworth Meetinghouse, a most important architecturally historic building. Every donation, great or small, to the Acworth Meetinghouse Restoration Project is much appreciated as we move forward to our final goal and mission..
Donations can be made at this site. or contact:
Mailing Address: Acworth Meetinghouse Restoration Project,
A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED STEEPLE RAISING
... happened on June 20, 2009 on the Acworth Common with the entire community supporting the effort! The Steeple is Up! The Acworth Meetinghouse is whole once again and the Acworth community was there to share in this momentous event.
Beginning with what has become a Project trade mark fund raising event, the Pancake Breakfast, the Restoration Committee, the working crew and the community came together to begin a day we have waited for 3 1/2 years. More than three hundred residents of Acworth and the surrounding area joined together to celebrate this historic event. It had to have compared with the first joyous celebration of this architecturally historic building at its completion in 1821.
It was truly wonderful to see the families gathered together on the town common, watching and waiting as the Steeple crew, headed by Ken Christie, Project Manager and Restoration expert, Aaron Sturgis, performed this outstanding bit of historic construction. Co Chairmen of the Restoration Committee, John Putnam and Jon Clowes were on hand to assist the crew from the ground. The process began at 9am with The Rev. Peter Howe, Pastor of “Church on the Hill”, giving the blessing of the “Raising.”
The Steeple lantern was set in its rightful place about 1:30pm with Jon Clowes doing the honors of ringing the old Revere bell in the tower to signal the completion of the lift. Aaron Sturgis gave the crowd a “thumbs up” from the top of the tower and a big cheer went up in response. All the smiling faces told the story as friends and neighbors hugged and cheered the crew for their fine workmanship.
The generous outpouring of financial aid continued through out the day with the filling of donation jars and sales of Meetinghouse artifacts and memorabilia. A 50/50 Raffle was part of the fun, with the winner guessing the lift weight of the Steeple. When the Steeple was removed in January 2006, the crane weight was 11,700 lbs...with a center cast of metal and concrete from old repairs to the Steeple after the ‘38 hurricane... so it was a surprise to all, including the crew, that the final weight of this Steeple lift was 13,300 lbs! The winner, Don Nunes, a recent resident of Acworth, promptly donated his winnings back to the Project! The MacMillan Crane Company of Keene, NH is to be commended for their professional and outstanding work on the lift. They were cautious and careful with our historic treasure...the Steeple of the Acworth Meetinghouse.
There are many stories to be shared by those attending the Steeple Raising and will surely be passed down through future generations as an event to be remembered. It is not often that we get to be part of a history making event in our own home town. The memories of the Restoration committee will be of hard work well rewarded and they only have to turn their eyes to the centerpiece of their community to know they have shared in a job well done.
Our Ongoing Mission
The raising of the Steeple is not the completion of the Restoration of the Acworth Meetinghouse Project but the culmination of the first goal in the renewal of this fine historic building. We continue our efforts to bring new life to a building that our lives center around...a representation of community and togetherness that binds generations of Acworth families and will continue to do so for many years to come. It’s original plan placed it squarely in the center of our town and it has proved through the years to be the center of our lives as well.
The Committee will continue their work and fund raising so that the building may be completely repainted, trim work restored and the interior of the Meetinghouse can be refurbished to better serve our community as the center of activity.
Many, many folks are involved in this work
Here’s an idea: If you would like to help give us a boost, we are asking each family to pledge $100 a year for the next 10 years for a total amount of $1000! With this plan, we will begin the Stewardship of caring for our Meetinghouse. At the end of this 10 year pledge, we will have accumulated enough funding to assure the future of our Meetinghouse.