The Union Meeting House Board of Trustees moved ahead on several fronts during August. A good turn-out for the Open House on the Saturday of Heritage Days introduced the beautiful building to some new persons in town and gave others a chance to become acquainted with the restoration the Board is undertaking. One lady from Florida, who summers in Mt. Vernon, came back to see the church where she was married many years ago. Thanks to Ev Potter, Mary Jernigan and Marius Peladeau who gave tours to the public. The UMH Board thanks Karen Dubé for selecting the Union Meeting House for the front of the Heritage Days T-shirt. Buy one at the Town Office and support the fine work of the Heritage Days Committee.
The restoration of another window has been made possible by a generous gift from a couple with deep Readfield ties. The sashes were removed in August and are currently being restored.The names of the donors will be announced when the window is re-dedicated this fall.
To prepare for the re-grading of the lot which will take place any day now, Holly Dumaine, a member of the Advisory Board, her son, Chris, and Board member Joan Wiebe spent time and effort to move all the flowers that landscaped the front of the building. They were put in pots and moved to the side of the lot so they can be put back in place once the re-grading is completed. The work on removing the old moth-infested cushions mention in the August Messenger is nearly complete. The cushions were taken to the recycle center and dumped, the cushions were dry cleaned and new foam inserts cut to order. It was found that some of the slip covers did not have zippers so the old cushions could not be removed. They were slit along the seams and new zippers will be installed once they are cleaned. Totaling all the expenses this project cost over $1,500, an unexpected outlay at this time with so many other priorities facing the Board in the face. (Remember, please renew your membership for 2011-2012.)
The family of Ruth Townsend requested that gifts in her memory could be made to the Union Meeting House, which she had loved with so much dedication for so many years. The Board thanks those who have made gifts to date. The Board extends its condolences to her family. These gifts will go immediately to help pay for operating expenses, such as covering the cost of the cushion work.
Members of the Nickerson Family, of Nickerson Hill Road (naturally), were in town in August and stopped by the church so that the UMH and the Readfield Historical Society could interview them about their family memories. Mrs. Mary J. Meggison Duntley, and her brothers, Glynn and David, have pledged gifts to restore the Nickerson stained glass window in memory of their mother, Mrs. Louise Nickerson Meggison of Readfield. The Board is most appreciative of this family’s dedication to preserving the window which commemorates the importance of the Nickerson family name in town.
Last, but not least – and of major importance – is the visit to the UMH by Aaron Sturges of Preservation Timber Framing, Inc., of Berwick, who is widely known as an expert in the repair and preservation of timber-framed buildings, especially church steeples. He has restored numerous steeples over the past decades, the ones closest to Readfield being in Yarmouth and Damariscotta. In Maine the firm has also restored steeples in York, Gorham and Brunswick. The Board is looking forward to receiving Mr. Sturges’ assessment of the damage the UMH steeple has suffered over the years from infiltrating water. Serious rot can be seen throughout the clock tower, belfry and dome which caps the steeple. Once the Board has cost estimates on hand, the process of fund-raising will commence. This will be a major undertaking, the most costly and ambitious project facing the Meeting House at present.