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4023 VT Route 15
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posted on March 04
When our church building was constructed in 1856, it was built up against a ledge, over which a great deal of water flows when the snows melt in the spring, and when there is a heavy rain. This water drains into the foundation and causes the sills and the floor joists to rot. Though various "fixes" have been tried over the years, no permanent solution has been found and moisture continues to cause mold and rot in the foundation. Our congregation has determined that due to the historical significance of this building - that is, being the only largely white United Methodist church in the country that was organized and built by an African American- we want to do all that we can to restore the building.
After having a consultant come from the Preservation Trust of Vermont, to do an initial assessment, we voted to move forward to hire a carpenter to take up the floor in the kitchen and most of the dining room (keeping a path open to the bathroom and the storage closet) and then to hire an engineer to come in and assess the damage and develop specifications for the repairs.
In August a storage shed was installed on the property and everything that we plan to keep was moved into the shed. Our carpenter, Walter Dailey and his crew removed the floors and the cabinets in the kitchen necessary to assess the damages. On Monday, August 14, Chris Temple from DeWolfe Engineering, came to make his assessment, take necessary measurements, and move forward with developing recommendations for needed repairs and possible permanent solutions to the water damage problem.
In the middle of September we received our report from Chris Temple with specifications and plans for replacing the existing foundation with either a concrete slab on grade or a pressure-treated wood frame floor. We have received an estimate of about $114,000 to complete the slab on grade option which is currently preferred by most of the church Trustees.
We have installed a vapor barrier over the dirt floor to keep as much of the cold and moisture out as possible during these cold winter months.
In early December we launched a $115,000 Capital Campaign to repair the current damage and to install a permanent barrier to prevent further water damage. Our intent is to continue to provide a space where we can continue to raise money for local and worldwide missions; to provide a newly renovated space that will available for the residents of Wolcott to use for community and personal events; and to continue to tell the amazing story of the Rev. George S. Brown, the African American founder and builder of the church. We hope that many of you will be willing to support this important project. Anyone who has an interest in this project may do so by sending a check to Wolcott UMC, PO Box 94, Wolcott, VT 05680 or simply going to the "Giving" tab at the top of our homepage, and making a donation via credit card or echeck through our secure giving portal. We thank you in advance for your support of this important project.
To view videos about the Rev. George S. Brown and this historic restoration project, go to the following links:
http://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/hidden-history-reverend-george-s-brown/648629943 (The Story of George S. Brown for Black History month)
https://www.onenewspage.com/video/20170720/8486786/Wolcott-Church-Foundation.htm (a news story about the need for the historic restoration project)