Tuesday, May 4, 2021

East Elevation Undergoes Final Repointing

Phase 2 stonework repair continues as Joseph Gnazzo Company Inc. turns their attention back to the main East elevation. Here they are using a bucket lift to do spot repointing on all remaining areas of the East wall. Repointing is the process of renewing the pointing, which is the exterior part of mortar joints. Over time, weathering and decay cause voids in the joints between the granite blocks, allowable undesirable entrance of water. Repointing will ensure a water-tight exterior. As the new mortar ages over time, its color will blend in to match the older mortar.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Northeast Buttress Rebuilt

Joseph Gnazzo Company Inc. of Union, CT has been making terrific progress on Phase 2 stonework repairs. The most significant part of this phase, already completed, involved a complete dismantling and rebuilding of the northeast buttress. Removal of the exterior ashlar granite revealed a dense layer of rock and mortar underneath. Each ashlar stone was numbered and arranged in tandem along the scaffolding deck while the underside was washed and prepared for the rebuild. As one of the masons rather modestly remarked, “It’s somewhat like reassembling a jigsaw puzzle.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Preservation Works!

As part of the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund grant, we have a new sign gracing our front garden. Designed by Inanna Arthen and built by Joe Sackett, it declares “Preservation Works!” We acknowledge the generous funding by the Massachusetts Historic Commission and the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Scaffolding Goes Up for Phase 2

The spring thaw is in full swing and the scaffolding is out! This morning Joseph Gnazzo Company Inc. of Union, CT arrived bright and early and began assembling the complex scaffolding over the East face of the church tower. This will be in place throughout the next several weeks as they repair bulging and cracked stones, and replace many areas that are missing mortar.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Contract Awarded for Phase 2

UUCW received bids from three masonry firms for our proposed Phase 2 repairs. After careful consultation with Structures North Consulting Engineers and the Massachusetts Historical Commission, we awarded the contract to Joseph Gnazzo Company Inc. of Union, CT. We are well acquainted with Gnazzo as they had ably performed our Phase 1 repairs in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.
Phase 2 repairs will complete the remainder of the East elevation face and then begin earnest work on the church tower, which is in the greatest need of repair. We’ll be working on the East tower face, including the clock spire, and Northeast buttress (shown below). The buttress work will require dismantling and resetting some of the very large support stones.

We are patiently awaiting the arrival of warmer weather and are at the top of Gnazzo’s Spring schedule to begin work. Watch for the arrival of the tell-tale scaffolding!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Invitation to Bid Posted for Phase 2

Legal ads for our Phase 2 masonry repairs were published today in the Gardner News, the Worcester Telegram and the Winchendon Courier. The official ad reads as follows:

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon, a.k.a. The Church of the Unity, 126 Central Street, Winchendon, MA, requests bids for masonry repair of their 1866 granite building which is listed in the State Register of Historic Places.
The project is being partially funded with a grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission. All work must be performed in accordance with the documents prepared by Structures North Consulting Engineers Inc., 60 Washington Street, Salem, MA 01970 (Telephone 978-745-6817) and meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. State law prohibits discrimination. Awarding of this contract is subject to Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity guidelines. A copy of bidding documents may be obtained by writing or telephoning John Wathne, Principal Engineer, at the above address.
A pre-bid meeting will be held at the church on September 22, 2020 at at 10:00 AM.
Bids shall be evaluated on the basis of price, previous experience with similar types of construction projects, ability to perform the work in a timely manner, and references. All bids must be delivered to the engineer’s office at the above address prior to September 30, 2020 to be eligible for consideration and all of the grant-funded work must be completed by June 30, 2021.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Massachusetts Historical Commission Conducts Site Visit

On July 17 UUCW hosted a site visit from Tracey Fortier, Preservation Planner, from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC), and John Wathne, Principal Engineer, from Structures North Engineering. Their visit signaled the official start of Phase 2 Set in Stone masonry repairs.

The pair undertook a thorough review of the building, taking many measurements and pictures. They confirmed the scope of Phase 2, which will finish up mortar work on the East elevation building face and repair the East face of the bell tower. We hope to “fast-track” this work, sending out requests for bids in late August and starting work this fall.