RESTORING THE UNITARIAN CHURCH

CBWC: People at Work

Ever since we moved into this town, we have watched how the Unitarian Church has stood there getting older and more worn out. I kept asking why we didn’t just use the property as a small museum where we can put the town’s old photograph and memories. Apparently, others were thinking along these same lines and a few months ago, the state restoration group bought the church and said they were going to restore it — and turn it into a small museum. This week, they started the project.

Look carefully and you’ll see the men up in the scaffolding
Now you can see them, right?
There’s an awful lot of work to be done
This is a full restoration, so they have to carefully remove the entire interior of the church, repair the building, install proper electricity and heat (it never had heat) and I’m not sure it even has running water

I know this is last week’s black & white challenge, but last week I didn’t have anything but really old pictures I’ve used too many times before. Yesterday, I got these pictures. Sorry I’m so late!

This is going to be a pretty big job for little old Uxbridge. The interior of the church is hand-carved mahogany. They will have to very carefully remove it, refinish it, and replace it. The church never had heat — which is one of the major reasons it was abandoned. I guess our forbears were hardier souls than we and apparently could pray in the bitter cold in full outwear. We less hardy folks prefer a less brisk locale.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this completed! They are hard at work. I hope they also restore the Carillon. They had a wonderful carillon and a great bell. I would like to hear it ring again.

Black & White


Categories: Anecdote, Architecture, Black & White, black & white photography, cee's photo challenge, Photography, Uxbridge

Tags: , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. The building has some kind of heat as well as running water. The basement was used as a parish hall with a full kitchen. The combined UU parish of Mendon and Uxbridge “summered” here at least until the early 2000’s.

    In the mid nineties an elevator was installed to movie people from the basement parking level to the sanctuary. The clock functioned as the town’s clock which was considered a necessity.

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    • We were told the lack of heat made the church unusable in cold weather. I know because we wanted to join (we had recently moved here), but it was closing — “going out of business.” The whole thing of “winter at the church in Mendon, summer in Uxbridge” wasn’t working, maybe because the congregation was too small to raise the money needed to restore the building. Anyway, that is what that last pastor of the church told us and he had no reason to lie. I know many old churches and meeting houses didn’t have heat. They were hardier souls than we.

      We live on the same road as the old Quaker Meeting House. They installed something heat-like, but I don’t think we could call it “heat.” Every time we were there back when they were holding Thanksgiving services, we had to wear full outdoor gear.

      I’m sure they had electricity, but the rest of the stuff must have been insufficient or in need of major repair. Mainly, I’m very happy they got it put together and so FAST. I thought it would take a long time, but they got the whole thing done in just about six months. That is remarkable and encouraging. The church looks great. It was a treasure and today, it LOOKS like a treasure.

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  2. I’ve always been fascinated by scaffolding. Great subjects for black & white. I really love these photos! Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As the church has aged without a parish, I had been watching it deteriorate and worrying that it would finally become “unrestoreable.” When the building was bought and the scaffolding went up, I was thrilled. As for the pictures, we got lucky because there was a full crew working that day, so I was able to get a full set of pictures of ‘men at work.”

      And amazingly, the church was restored in just half a year. That really IS remarkable!

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  3. Terrific photos Marilyn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating isn’t it, how they balance on the scaffolding. It often happens here as we have such old buildings. At the moment they are doing repair work on the tower of our cathedral.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this is the first full restoration in Uxbridge. It’s also our tallest building. I get a nosebleed just looking all the way to the top and that scaffolding looks a bit fragile to me. I was afraid they were just going to bulldoze the church in the end. It’s a beautiful little church, a real New England classic. I think at full capacity it holds fewer than 200 people and it has no parking of its own, but I think it will be a very nice little museum. If they do the restoration well, the church is worth viewing just because it’s beautiful!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. These are great pictures, Marilyn. I look forward to seeing the pictures when the work is further along. Whenever I go to the UK, there is always scaffolding and restoration work going on somewhere.

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    • This is a big project for this small town. Bigger towns do more of this kind of work, but it’s expensive work and it takes a long time. This will take a couple of years at least. I hope they do a great job! The church deserves the effort.

      Liked by 1 person

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