Last month the UMH page in the Messenger talked about the work that started on the five most endangered windows. Thanks to a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which the Meeting House had to match, the five window casings were scraped, primed and painted for the first time in over a century. The second stage now involves the cutting of large Lexan panels to cover the casings. The Lexan (a brand-name specialty plastic sheeting) has just arrived and shaping and installation of the Lexan will be undertaken by the contractor, Joseph Caputo of East Pittson. This is not an easy job since the Lecan will have to be carefully cut at the top to match the rounded window casing and weep holes and spacers installed so that condensation will not
accumulate on the wooden casing and rot the wood. Once the Lexan in installed it will protect the newly painted casings from the weather and allow the later removal of the window sashes for extensive restoration.
The UMH Board was pleased in October to host members of the Meggison family from out-of-state. The two brothers and one sister are all direct descendents of the Nickerson family (after which Nickerson Hill Road is named). After a tour of the Meeting House they kindly offered to pay for the needed restoration of the Nickerson family window at the Meeting House. The $1,000 cost will be donated over a period of three years. We thank the Meggisons for this most generous gesture and we also thank our Advisory Board member, Evelyn A. Potter, for the genealogical research that allowed us to be in touch with the current members of this historic, old Readfield family. In all, the Brick Church has seventeen windows so persons interested in adopting a window, and memorializing their family with a plaque, are encouraged to get it touch with the Board.
Mrs. Rochelle Bohm of Bangor, a staff member of Maine Preservation, the statewide citizens group working so hard to develop an awareness of historic buildings, came to Readfield in October to meet with the Board and to give it the benefit of her experience. All the Board members felt it was a profitable meeting and will be working to implement some of Mrs. Bohm’s suggestions. Both Maine Preservation and the Maine
Historic Preservation Commission have strongly urged the Union Meeting House to apply for a Historic Preservation Community Block Grant that could be used to assist in the restoration of the building. The Board has been in touch with Town Manager, Code Enforcement Officer, and Mrs. Gail Chase of the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments on this matter. The next steps are to schedule a public hearing in Readfield to allow for community input which, hopefully, will lead to Town approval at an upcoming Selectmen’s meeting. The Town, which willl administer the grant, (if received), must send in its Letter of Intent in early December. The Public Hearting date will be announced in local newspapers and at the Town Office Bulletin Board. The UMH encourages all residents to attend and support the restoration of this local landmark building.
The cost of the renovation of the Brick Church and its continued maintenance is so large that private funds alone will not meet the expense. Grant funds will have to pay an important role in raising the necessary funds to do all the work that has been deferred for 25 years.
At its last meeting the Board nominated and elected Mrs. Barbara Boenke of Readfield to the Board. Barbara has been serving since early this year on the Advisory Board and it is a pleasure to welcome her as a full voting member of the Board. A former school teacher in Chicago and for the Department of Defense in Germany, she has also been a school librarian and a museum curatorial assistant. She and her husband, Warren,
moved to Readfield in 2004. They built a home at Camp Menatoma where they reside year-round.
So that everyone can know who is involved in the UMH, we list below the members of the Board and Advisory Board. Board: President Marius B. Peladeau, Secretary/Treasurer Donn Harriman, Barbara Boenke, Florence Drake, Joan Wiebe and Milton Wright. Advisory Board: Buzz Butler, Brianne McNally, Rev. Karen Munson
and Jack Smart.