Wadhams United Church of Christ gets facelift before festival

WADHAMS-As Father's Day approaches, the Wadhams United Church of Christ is preparing to show off a new look.

The church annually holds its Strawberry Festival during Father's Day, this year being held on Sunday, June 19, from 1 to 4 p.m.

As part of the preparation, members and volunteers have been working to renovate the church, a project that started back in 2001 to keep the building, built around 1831, an active part of the Wadhams community.

"The renovated hall will now host church and community events throughout the years ahead," Robert Harsh said following a volunteer community work day on April 30. "We sheet-rocked, sanded, painted, raked, cleaned, and sorted items in both the newly renovated kitchen and meeting rooms and in a second-story storage area."

The early focus of the work was to restore the deteriorated foundation and exterior structure, which Harsh said was funded by a combination of church reserve funds and a grant from the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

"Since then, church and community volunteers have worked alongside local contractors to provide a fully modernized structure with several meeting spaces and a modernized kitchen facility for church and public dinners," Harsh said.

Harsh said that the goal of the project has been to keep as much of the historic aspect of the building as possible.

"Wherever possible, the renovation has preserved historic architectural elements that reference the past uses of the hall, including its original use as a dance hall and stables for a hotel that previously stood adjacent to the church," Harsh said.

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