Done at last.

By 2005 the roof leaked badly, leaving telltale stains on the ceilings and walls. Replacing the roof became a priority, but funding it seemed an impossibility. So much has happened during the intervening years.

Last week, we paid the final masonry bills and submitted our Baseline Documentation, Stewardship Agreement and Final Budget Worksheet to LCHIP — driving the papers down to Concord shortly before our month-end deadline and just as we had done three years ago when we first applied for a grant.

In the end, our project cost $175,000, with just over half of it used to replace the roof over the entire expanded building. The 1822/23 meetinghouse portion, on which most of the remaining money was spent, has not looked so well kept in recent memory. Some work has yet to be done on the 1871 and 1986 additions, but at least our most significant historic asset has received the preservation treatment it so badly needed.

Our local contractors were dedicated to the project: Mike Mayo at Weathercheck in Sunapee, Jason Foster at Foster's Painting in Claremont, Sam Roberts at Chim-Tech masonry in Lebanon. Their advice, workmanship and site management made the whole effort run smoothly with no disruption to the church's schedule. We must also thank consulting contractor George Neuwirt of Sunapee, whose estimates enabled us to scope out the project and complete our grant application. Now approaching 200 years old, this building is an architectural gem, and it has been a privilege to work on its continued preservation.

Providing us with the necessary training and direction were architectural historian Jim Garvin at the NH Division of Historical Resources, Amy Dixon at LCHIP, Maggie Stier and Jennifer Goodman at the NH Preservation Alliance, preservation architect Rick Monahan, and Tuomi Forest of Partners for Sacred Places.

Finally, we must acknowledge the individual donors and church members who responded generously to complete the funding of this project. Decade after decade, generation after generation, the "Brick Church" has been preserved in Newport. Our collective stewardship is one link in a historical chain that started when the Rev. John Woods, minister, formally acquired the property from the Building Committee in December 1827.

Thank you all.

▶ Download the Baseline Documentation.

© New Hampshire Steeples, 2012