Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Phase 1 Restoration Complete

The scaffolding is down and the craftmanship of Joseph Gnazzo Construction is fully revealed! We started out with many areas of gaping holes and broken mortar. We ended up with fresh mortar filling in the entire depth of each granite block. The finished area surrounding the front entry is easy to distinguish. Over time the slightly darker brown mortar will lighten to match the old mortar.

New mortar between reset stones.

Our work has just begun. We have much more repair ahead of us, particularly to the bell tower. We’ll be applying for state grant assistance to continue this work in 2020, which is very competitive. We’ll also be planning some local fundraisers in additional to our summer and fall lawn fairs. We’ll need every dollar we can get to insure this historic landmark will last yet another 150 years!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stone Extraction and Cleaning

Many of the front granite stones had shifted out of place over time. The restoration work involves extraction of many granite pieces, some quite large, including the carved cross over the top of the entryway gable.

Gnazzo used a lull (a combination forklift and tractor) to move these pieces and power-wash the areas behind. The stones were carefully reset in place. New flashing will be added to further protect from wet weather.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Gnazzo Construction Begins Work

After a careful evaluation of bids from five separate masonry firms, our Governing Board selected Joseph Gnazzo Company, Inc., based in Union, CT to undertake Phase 1 restoration work. Gnazzo has extensive experience in historic restoration projects both large and small, and was able to begin work this fall. Their first step was to erect scaffolding over the entire front entryway and place protective tarps over the work area.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Set in Stone Moves into Phase 1 Bidding Stage

Five different masonry firms, all specialists in historic stonework repair, gathered at the church to examine the daunting task of repairing the church stonework. Phase 1 of this extensive project, funded by the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, focuses on the front entrance and quelling the water seepage that has accelerated plaster deterioration in the interior archway. The firms will be submitting their bids for work within the week, and UUCW will be awarding the contract to one of the masons this month. Ideally, you should be seeing scaffolding and work beginning in earnest later this month before the weather gets too cold.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Gourmet Dinner Fundraiser Delivers!

Sandy Dellasanta was one of two lucky winners of the UUCW gourmet dinner raffle conducted June 15. Net proceeds will support our Set in Stone capital campaign to raise funds for building restoration. Sandy was treated to rich lobster lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, fruit and nut salad, and chocolate ganache cake, prepared by Chef Inanna Arthen and delivered to her doorstep!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Drones Over Winchendon

If you saw a UFO in the skies above Winchendon, it was probably a drone mapping the damaged stones of the Unitarian Universalist Church. Gabe Wahtne of Structures North Engineering piloted a drone equipped with a high resolution camera around the church. This initiated Phase 1 of the Set In Stone restoration project.
Structures North is producing a specification and proposal for the engineering plan. This final plan will describe the repairs at block by block detail, and define the scope of the work for the restoration masonry contractors. These companies work together to specify and complete this critically-needed work.
Phase 1 is targeted for completion in 2019. It encompasses the East elevation, which is the front of the church facing Central Street. The excessive rainfall in the fall of 2018 has accelerated water seepage and damage to the entryway which Phase 1 will address.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Set in Stone Launches

The Set in Stone Capital Campaign officially launched during Winchendon's Summer Solstice Celebration. We hosted an information kiosk featuring a Church history quiz with chocolate prizes for correct answers.
To raise funds, we sold raffle tickets for home-cooked, gourmet dinners for four delivered to the home. Contestants vied for either Lobster Lasagna or Applewood Smoked Baby Back Ribs. Our church chefs Dave and Inanna generously offered their time and culinary skills. The lucky winners were Sandy Dellasante (Lasagna) and Bob O’Keefe (Ribs).
Many visitors learned about and appreciated the campaign and some shared their own history with our town's UU church. We are so appreciative of the raffle ticket purchases and donations initiating our capital campaign.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Approves Grant for Set in Stone - Phase 1

The Directors of the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation approved a grant in the amount of $85,000 to begin restoration work on the East face (front entrance) of the church. The Phase 1 work is essential to restore integrity to the East face and stop water seepage and plaster damage was accelerated during last year’s particularly rainy season.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Winchendon Historic Commission Endorses Set In Stone

The Winchendon Historical Commission issued a letter of support to UUCW, noting that the proposed repair work was found to be in line with the Historic Preservation Guidelines. We look forward to collaborating further with the Commission as Set in Stone proceeds.