Restoration of Historic Troy Union Church Steeple Begins!
It was a BANNER DAY at the historic Troy Union Church, built in 1840. Tuesday, August 12, 2014, Greg Rossel, Mel Moulton, and Ron Cropley from the church got up on tall ladders to fasten it in place. The banner reads “This Project made Possible in part through the Belvedere Fund Historic Preservation Grants Program of the Maine Community Foundation in cooperation with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.” According to the grant guidelines the language must be used in all press releases and other publicity for the restoration project.
“August 18th is another milestone,” says Norma Rossel who has been leading the project since summer of 2010. Rossel and the whole church community are very excited the work is actually starting.” Removal of the hanging ceiling, installed in 1954 for insulation, is the first step. This will allow access to the trusses which supported the belfry. After the ceiling is removed, preparation for some truss work will begin,” says Rossel.
“An Assessment Grant from the Maine Steeples Project allowed the church to have a professional assessment. We learned why the tower is leaning: water infiltration mostly through the belfry, had rotted the supporting trusses. The main chord spans 32 feet, and is so rotten, a pencil can be pushed right into it”.
Now the tower leans heavily into the sanctuary. In April 2011, Arron Sturgis and his crew from Preservation Timber Framing, Inc. (PTF), in Berwick, Maine, installed a huge wooden stabilization brace in the back of the church, from the ground to the tower. This prevents the steeple from continuing to lean even further, but the truss repairs must be done before the brace can be removed. This same firm will be supervising ceiling removal by local carpenters, and they (PTF) will be doing the truss work.
Another milestone, November 17, 2011, Troy Union Meeting House (1840) was entered into the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Park Service. That is a requirement for the funding.
Rossel applied for the Belvedere Grant in September, 2013 and was informed it was awarded in late November. “The grant funds arrived in late March, bolstered by donations from the extended church community and fund raising. We received word from PTF that they would arrive on July 23, to begin setting staging for the ceiling removal. We quickly moved out of the church, and moved the piano to the B.B. Cook Clubhouse down the road, our church for now.”
Please send your (tax deductible) donations to Treasurer, Troy Union Church,