Brick Meeting House spire repaired in Grafton

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GRAFTON -- The cap went back on the Grafton Brick Meeting House last week when the Grafton Historical Society completed the repairs of the building's spire.

Last repaired in 1922, the spire needed a new vertical beam and some boards repaired to keep it sturdy for the next 100 years. While off the building, the iron weather vane was also repaired after noting that a bullet hole was found in it.

The restoration of the spire of the brick meeting house, former home of the South Congregational Society, was a project this past year for the Grafton Historical Society, the current owners. The meeting house, built in 1833-34, has been a landmark in Grafton for almost 180 years. The sturdy brick building is on the National Register of Historic Places and included in the Library of Congress Historical American Buildings Survey. It is also considered one of the last examples of classic New England architecture of the period.

Upon taking over ownership of the building a few years ago, the historical society has provided a new furnace and floor structural repairs in addition to the spire repairs. It will next turn its attention to repairing and preserving the inside décor.

The spire has had special meaning to its identity throughout the years. The Aug. 30, 1933, issue of Bellows Falls Times reported that Congressmen Samuel B. Pettengill, whose family had lived in Grafton for five generations, spoke at the centennial of the church. He poetically noted, "To me a church without a spire is not a church. In derivation the word 'spire' has nothing to do with 'aspire,' but to me they mean the same thing. To me a spire represents a church's hands upraised to God."


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