2014 Club Calendar Features Historic Newbury Buildings
Harrison Renfrew with clapboard and Jeremy Hantoon below him. Harrison’s father, John Renfrew, is on the roof painting the base of the steeple. Photographs by Jane Booth
Harrison Renfrew and Jeremy Hantoon, left, replace clapboard on the Old Village Church in Newbury, Vt. Photographs by Jane Booth
John Renfrew, right, and Brandon Foster work on the steeple of the Old Village Church in Newbury,Vt. Jane Booth photographs
Brandon Foster on lift, John Renfrew on steeple. Jane Booth photographs
Newbury, Vt. — In the half century since they’ve owned Old Village Church, the Newbury Woman’s Club has tackled a long list of maintenance challenges, including rebuilding the steeple supports and adding a standing seam roof.
“Every year, we sort of chip away at these projects,” said Jane Labun, president.
This summer’s projects — repairing the steeple and repainting the church exterior — are largely done, but for some detail work around the porch. The work, supported by a grant, town money and club fundraisers, will probably total about $35,000, Labun said. To help cover the bill, the club is selling 2014 calendars featuring images of historic and modern Newbury buildings. They are available for $7.50 from local businesses, including the Norwich Bookstore, Newbury Village Store, and Wells River Savings Bank in Newbury.
Now that the outside’s in good shape, the Woman’s Club plans to focus on the interior. They hope to see the church used more often and are discussing possible uses for it, Labun said. Renovations inside the building will depend on their plans for the building’s future.
The former Methodist Church was built on the Newbury common in 1829. It survived the enormous fire of 1913, which destroyed much of the village. It fell out of use as a church long before 1960, the year it was given to the club, Labun said. But it has been used for “community and public purposes,” such as the Cracker Barrel Bazaar and summer camps, along with private functions such as wedding receptions. This summer, it was a stop on a popular tour of Newbury Village, part of the 250th anniversary celebrations taking place in Newbury and Haverhill.
The town and residents have been supportive of efforts to preserve the building, Labun said. “It’s such an iconic part of the Newbury community. ... I think it means a lot to the people and the village.”
For more information, contact Labun at 802-866-5506.
Aimee Caruso can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3210.