In May of 2014 we at the First Religious Society began what was, for us, a large project to preserve the steeple and the windows and doors of our 1801 Federalist meetinghouse and to paint the entire building. At that time we had a budget of approximately $560,000. We were fortunate to receive two Community Preservation grants from the City of Newburyport totaling $300,000 and further fortunate to receive other grants and donations totaling $105,000. The balance of the project cost was to be funded by the membership of the First Religious Society.
Little did we know that during the project, we would find two sets of significant structural issues requiring immediate repair. The project doubled in cost to $1,150,000. Suddenly, a manageable gap in funding had become an earnest challenge. As stewards of this historic building, an icon of Newburyport, the membership of the First Religious Society authorized this new budget, and work has proceeded.
All of the work has been done in keeping with the historical significance of the building. Thus, we are using traditional timber framing construction to correct the structural problems and, wherever possible, materials consistent with the period. We have sought “100-year solutions” to the problems encountered so that following generations are not faced with such problems.
Your tax-deductible donation, in any amount, would help us close the funding gap and preserve the building for Newburyporters in generations to come.