Readfield Union Meeting House annual membership drive is underway. This year’s membership drive is more important than ever as in the year ahead we face some daunting tasks. If you have not received a letter and request from our Board of Directors do not hesitate – you can easily make your secure online donation today via the “DONATE HERE” button / link at the left of this screen.
Following is a letter from the UMH Board of Directors, who are seeking the support of members and donors:
Dear Members and Friends
The membership year for the Union Meeting House comes to an end this month (June 2012) and a new one, filled with daunting tasks, begins. We must succeed to reach a major step in saving the steeple. If we fail the future of the building is very uncertain. The past four years have seen progress, due in great part to the willingness of our members and friends to support the restoration efforts.
This is going to be an important year for the building. One of the most expert steeplejacks examined the steeple last fall and confirmed what Ernest Bracy was told more than 25 years ago – there are many seriously rotted beams in the steeple. Its entire stability is threatened. We don’t have to spell out the consequences of what will happen if we fail to act quickly. Everyone can see the poor condition of the clapboards on the tower, the badly eroded clock dials and the Roman numerals on the dial beginning to come off. Portions of the metal roof on the dome are flying off in the wind and falling to the ground like leaves off a tree. These are merely experior evidence of a more serious deteroration inside.
The first step is for a crane to remove the entire rotted, leaking dome. While the crane is on site the bell and its cradle will be taken out since ultimately the metal belfry roof, on which the bell sits has to be taken up and replaced. A new belfry roof will make the structure water tight.
This is only the initial step. The years of water dripping down into the steeple have rotted the majority of the structural beams that hold the belfry and clock tower together. The majority will have to be replaced. These are huge timbers and it will be a major, expensive undertaking to remove the rotted ones and to insert the new timbers while working around the clock mechanism. Naturally the cost will be huge. These first two steps to save the steeple will be close to $110,000 ($30,000 for Phase I and $80,000 for Phase II later). That may seem daunting, but the Board thinks it is a feasible goal and one we can reach over several years with community support.
Yes, this multi-year project will be the most ambitious and most costly undertaking in the Meeting House’s 184 year history. Encouraged by past support, the Board believes that the community shares in the significance of preserving this magnificent historical structure in the Town of Readfield. PLEASE renew your membership or, if you have not given before, join with a first-time gift so that the first step we have outlined above can be done in 2012.
The Board of The Readfield Union Meeting House
Marius Pelideau, President
Barbara Boenke, Secretary
Donn Harriman, Treasurer
Florence Drake, Marianne Perry, John Perry, Karen B. Peterson, Joan Wiebe and Milton R. Wright
The Advisory Board of The Readfield Union Meeting House
Dale Marie Potter Clark, Holly H. Dumaine, Mary Jernigan, Brianne M. McNally and Evelyn A. Potter
Membership Annual Dues:
$250 Life Fellow
Please contact us for special named gifts to the Meeting House. Naming opportunities include the steeple, windows. replica carpet and bell. There are other projects that could be accomplished with an earmarked gift and could help move the restoration forward. We would like to talk to you about these opportunities. If you wish for information on these additional opportunities please contact Marius Peladeau (contact info below).
You can easily mail your donation to:
Readfield Union Meeting House
c/o 158 Thorpe Shores
We thank you in advance for your kind consideration and generosity!