FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2015
For more information contact:
Robert Adam, President
The Shirley Meeting House
978 425 9335
Weathervane Caps Shirley Meeting House Preservation Project
(Shirley, Massachusetts) The last step in the current Shirley Meeting House preservation project is certainly the most noticeable. But to notice it, you have to look up – 100 feet up – to the very top of the bell tower where a gleaming, hand-crafted reproduction of the original weathervane has been newly installed. The new weathervane caps the latest phase in the ongoing restoration and preservation of the historic Meeting House, a Shirley landmark dating from 1773. The original weathervane, badly damaged in a storm several years ago, is being restored and will eventually become part of a permanent exhibit at the Meeting House.
The painstaking installation process took place against a backdrop of brilliant fall foliage on October 22, using the same motorized lift that enabled complete restoration of the bell tower, the final phase in a two-year restoration of the Meeting House exterior funded by grants and private donations. The latter included a generous gift of $20,000 from The Montachusett Society for the Preservation of Historic Buildings which, in combination with contributions from sustaining donors and local business partners, enabled the Meeting House to complete the exterior restoration project culminating in installation of the weathervane.
Beyond the exterior work just completed, the Meeting House recently developed plans for alterations necessary to meet state and federal handicapped accessibility requirements with the help of a matching grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Included are low-impact access to the front entrance and main hall, a handicapped-accessible bathroom, and small pantry and utility room. These changes will dramatically improve accessibility without diminishing the building’s historic character and will provide basic amenities the building currently lacks. With the plans completed, the Meeting House is currently seeking grants to assist with the construction phase of the project scheduled to begin in 2016.
The Meeting House currently serves the residents of Shirley and surrounding towns by offering an exciting array of community concerts and performances throughout the year, as well as providing a venue for weddings, funerals, memorial services and programs of historic interest. With the continued support of the individuals and businesses whose donations make our preservation efforts possible, the Meeting House will continue as a vibrant service to the community for many decades to come. For more information, to become a member or to make a donation, visit the Meeting House website at www.shirleymeetinghouse.org.