Repairs needed at Greenfield meetinghouse

  • Architectural historian Mae Williams talks about the history of the Greenfield meetinghouse during a community meeting Tuesday. Williams is part of a team assembling a historic building assessment of the meetinghouse, which will provide a prioritized list of project renovations for the building. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Greenfield Meeting House is currently undergoing a building assessment to prepare for future restoration projects. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Greenfield Meeting House is currently undergoing a building assessment to prepare for future restoration projects. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, November 01, 2018 1:9AM

A team analyzing the Greenfield meetinghouse noted several areas to be addressed to the building and site moving forward in a meeting with citizens on Tuesday including water damage to the lower level, stained glass restoration, and electrical work. 

Led by architect Sonya Misiaszek, the team has been working on completing a historic building assessment which will serve as a "road map" for the revitalization of the building. 

“It’s going to give you an all-inclusive path to restoring this building," Misiaszek said. “[Restoring the building] is a process, it's not going to happen overnight. Sometimes things even change or evolve during the duration when a building is going through a restoration.”

When completed, the report will provide prioritized recommendations for projects that should be completed, along with estimates of how much each project should costs. 

Misiaszek said projects will likely be split into categories, such as projects critical to the structure of the building, projects that may be critical, and projects that would be nice to have completed. 

There will also be information in the report about scheduled maintenance that should be completed, so the building doesn't fall into disrepair. 

The $24,000 assessment is being paid for in part by a $12,000 NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) grant. 

The team, which also includes architectural historian Mae H. Williams, architect Jared A. Guilmett, and engineer Chad Monterose, all have experience working on historic building projects and said they will be working with LCHIP to ensure that proposed projects will be eligible for future grants and won't jeopardize the building's status on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Greenfield meetinghouse was constructed in 1795 and is the oldest original meetinghouse to serve both church and state. 

Over the years, there have been a number of renovations to the building, including in 1825 when the exterior bell tower added, in 1848 when the church part of the the building and the state part of the building were separated to two different floors, and 1948 when the basement level was created. 

Generally speaking, the exterior, main level, and upper level of the building are considered to be in good condition, while the attic, structure, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing are considered to be fair.

"The electrical system in the building is tired," Monterose said of the building's 100 amp system. Monterose recommended upgrading to a 200 or 400 amp system. 

The loft level and lower level of the building have been labelled poor. 

Part of Tuesday's meeting centered around citizens bringing up their concerns and desires for the future of the building, something Misiaszek said will help to better inform the assessment moving forward.

"We want to meet your needs, we need to find out what will work for your community," Misiaszek said. 

Opportunities discussed included installing an elevator, reworking the kitchen and bathrooms, soundproofing the first floor, and adding lighting to the stage.

Misiaszek also encouraged those with historic information about the meetinghouse to reach out to Town Administrator Aaron Patt, so it could be passed on and potentially used for the project. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.