We at Lyme Properties wanted to give everyone in the neighborhood an update on the progress of the construction work at 2087 Hartford Avenue. Activity has intensified since the spring and the completion of the rehabilitation is expected to conclude by Labor Day, 2010.

The focus over the course of this past winter was stabilizing the steeple, which had more structural problems than we had anticipated. Although the required work put us about a month behind schedule, the steeple is again structurally sound and sure to stand for another 125 years! Kudos to the team at Brian Gardner Carpentry for their excellent work in saving this key element of the landmark.

Substantial repair to the slate roof of the entire building has also been completed, including the historically accurate restoration of the original slate pattern which was disrupted during the addition of the tower clock in 1928. The roof as you see it today looks exactly as it did when the Church was first completed in 1890. The new copper flashing should protect the buildings interior for many years to come according to Doug Hayward, the Chelsea contractor who restored the slate roof.

Furthermore, the original Seth Thomas clock mechanism has undergone repair, and we intend to have the iconic purple-faced clock up and running before the rest of the building is complete. We know the neighbors are eager to hear the clock chime again.

Lyme has retained Trumbull-Nelson for the second phase of the project, which includes the completion of the historically accurate exterior restoration, a full interior renovation, and ensuring that the building meets all modern building code and life safety requirements.

This latter work includes a small addition to the building on the east side to allow for a handicapped lift and ADA compliant toilet rooms. The renovated structure will have a new electric service, new plumbing and a modern heating system.

The next major change you will see is the restoration of the original paint color. During the course of shoring up an addition to the rear of the church we uncovered a section of the original exterior wall, with the paint colors preserved on it! With the help of Home Partners Painting we are working to replicate the original paint colors, and utilizing historic photographs to match the pattern as best as possible.

The George Stevens pipe organ is being meticulously restored by A. David Moore, Inc. of Pomfret and will be reinstalled in the building in late August. Ed Boadway, our historical consultant, has confirmed that the instrument was originally constructed in the 1830’s and probably for a church in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

If you have any comments or questions about the church, or are willing to share your stories about the building, please contact us at (603) 676-7800 x14, or email angela@lymeproperties.com. We are excited about the progress being made, and hope the community is as well. It won't be too long before the steeple clock, bell tower, and pipe organ are again part of the harmony of Wilder, Vermont.