Historic Preservation Projects
From the blog on NutfiedHistory.org.
The current work to repair, restore, and preserve the Meetinghouse began in 2011 with a comprehensive analysis and development of a formal plan to address the many problems found.
A series of rehabilitation projects then began in 2012, and stretch through 2019.
Urgent Fixes, Structural Analysis, and Stabilization
The historic architect authoring the master plan identified several critical issues that were addressed in 2012: the exterior was repainted, some electrical problems repaired, and other fixes were made.
In 2013, a team of historic timber frame experts studied the entire Meetinghouse, and developed a 3D structural analysis report showing the state of all its frame elements. This identified the many parts of the structure needing replacement or serious repair, and highlighted the Tower in particular as needing quick help. This came in the form of an Urgent Stabilization project, in which modern dimensional lumber was temporarily installed in key locations on the interior to shore up the Tower and stop its growing separation from the Meetinghouse end wall.
This provided a safe period in which further preservation work could be planned, and the funds for it raised.
All projects follow the Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines for the rehabilitation class of historic preservation. This allows modern techniques but with respect for historic elements, and requires the use of matching materials and methods wherever possible.
Severe age and weather damage meant the top of the Tower, the Steeple, had to be removed and lowered in September 2015. It initially stood on the church lawn, but was so decayed it was instead disassembled and moved to a nearby shop.
The detailed restoration of the delicate Steeple elements is scheduled to take place during early 2018. The Tower base and adjacent wall are being repaired in the summer of 2017. The restored Steeple will hopefully return to its lofty location in the summer of 2018.
New Foundation and Frame Repair
The Meetinghouse rested for centuries on a granite block and rubble stone foundation, with bare dirt underneath. After 2016 excavation, lifting, and cement work, the building now rests on a state-of-the-art modern foundation. Extensive repairs to the lower timber frame have further given the Meetinghouse a solid, level, decay-free base.
In keeping with the principles of historic rehabilitation, the old granite foundation stones were saved, sliced, and used as a veneer to cover the exposed concrete. The building is sound and level for the first time in a century or two, but continues to look very much like it did to its original builders 250 years ago.
New Accessibility Connector
Along with the Foundation project, a substandard connection between the Meetinghouse and the modern Noyes building was replaced by a new structure in 2016.
This Accessibility Connector will receive a welcoming entry lobby, a large elevator and wide staircase, and a window-lined corridor to the Sanctuary, hopefully in 2018. This new Connector will provide convenient handicapped accessibility to all levels of the facility. The beauty of the rehabilitated Meetinghouse will finally be readily available to everyone in the community.
Roof Frame and Surface
Rehabilitation of the roof is planned for the summer of 2018. The existing 1884 slate will be removed, the underlying timber frame repaired and augmented, and the original plus matching new slates reinstalled.
Late 2017 through 2018 should see work on the upper and lower interiors.
The asbestos-tile Sanctuary floor will be abated, final flooring installed, walls restored and painted, electrical fixtures updated, and additional projects executed as needed. Rooms in the lower level will be reconfigured to better support community and church needs.
All this plus a new history museum will set the stage for celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Nutfield in 2019.