Church
Church

About


The Church of the Unity, founded and built by Winchendon’s most prominent families, has presided over downtown Winchendon for over 150 years. Now called the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon (UUCW), the building hosts community and religious services.

The ravages of New England weather, time and water have taken their toll on this beautiful structure. Major repairs to the stonework are urgently needed. Set in Stone is the church's capital campaign to raise money for this purpose.

Wear & Tear


A casual walk around the big gray church quickly reveals the damage the granite stonework has suffered from years of wind, sun, rain and extreme temperature changes. Many mortar joints are in a state of disrepair, with the mortar filling either cracked or completely missing. All of this needs to be replaced and/or refilled.

In 2015, UUCW contracted with the engineering firm Structures North of Salem, Massachusetts to conduct a visual survey of the church. They produced a detailed report showing the type and extent of deterioration across the entire building exterior. A color-coded map of their findings is posted here. It shows damage ranging from cracked and missing mortar, to bulging or shifted stones, to cracks in the stones themselves. The damage is scattered throughout the building, with the most severe damage resting in the church tower and front entryway.

Contact Us


UUCW
126 Central St.
P.O. Box 218
Winchendon, MA 01475
Email: info@set-in-stone.org
Phone: (978) 297-0554

News


Massachusetts Historical Commission Conducts Site Visit
July 22, 2020, 12:00 pm - On July 17 UUCW hosted a site visit from Tracey Fortier, Preservation Planner, from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC), and John Wathne, Principal Engineer, from Structures North Engineering. Their visit signaled the official start of Phase 2 Set in Stone masonry repairs.

The pair undertook a thorough review of the building, taking many measurements and pictures. They confirmed the scope of Phase 2, which will finish up mortar work on the East elevation building face and repair the East face of the bell tower. We hope to “fast-track” this work, sending out requests for bids in late August and starting work this fall.
Set in Stone Awarded Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund State Grant
June 9, 2020, 9:00 am - In our March 16 blog post, we reported on our first-ever application to the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) for special funding to continue our Set in Stone masonry repairs. MHC oversees the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF), a state-funded 50% reimbursable matching grant program established in 1984 to support the preservation of properties, landscapes, and sites (cultural resources) listed in the State Register of Historic Places.
This year, MHC received 33 applications with requests totaling nearly $2 million. UUCW’s application was one of only three applications that were pulled early and selected for emergency funding, based upon our compelling case and “high potential for loss.”
Our $50,000 MPPF grant, plus a matching grant received from the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, will enable us to begin urgent “Phase 2” masonry repairs on our bell tower. The rest of 2020 will now be very busy!
Gnazzo Repairs Coping Stones
June 1, 2020, 9:00 pm - Joseph Gnazzo Company, Inc. returned to UUCW today for one more week of stonework repair. The last vestiges of the Phase 1 funds are being used to seal the long coping stones that cap off the tall front gable, and repair a bulging section of granite blocks near the bell tower. This time, the work can be accomplished with only one worker in a bucket lift, instead of the multi-story scaffolding required last fall. No fear of heights for this mason!