Wednesday, February 4, 2015

   A short while ago the UMH reported that it wanted to restore its late 19th century organ. At that time there was one wedding booked for the spring and the Board wanted the bride and her groom to walk down the aisle to the sound of organ music. Now, there is a second reservation for another wedding in the fall, so that adds to the desire to have the organ in playable condition.
Built by the Chicago Cottage Organ Co. about 1890, this organ is original to the UMH. The restorer said it is of very high quality, has a greater range than most parlor organs and deserves to be preserved. "The case is especially fine", he says.
   Some welcome donations have come in from various friends and the Board felt secure enough that the remainder of the $1,500 restoration estimate would be forthcoming by spring that it contacted the restorer and he came and took the "guts" of the organ (the keyboard, reeds and wind chamber) off to his workshop in Port Clyde. He promises to bring everything back and to reassemble the organ in its black walnut case before the spring wedding.
   There is need, however, for more donations so that the full $1,500 will be on hand when the work is completed. You may send your donation to the "UMH Organ Fund" at 158 Thorp Shores, Readfield, Maine 04355.
   Membership renewals are coming in nicely as a result of the mailing that went out a few months ago. The Board thanks to all who have generously "re-upped", and thanks to a few new members. Apparently, the offer of a complimentary print of the UMH to those who signed on as a LIFE MEMBER ($250) was attractive to some individuals -- we have mailed out the print to several persons who have so responded. All gifts are welcome and will add to the amount the UMH can spend this year on the floor rebuilding. From an examination of the membership renewals it appears that many of you are increasing the amount of your membership gift. The UMH is most appreciative.  
   At its last meeting the Board talked of different possibilities for summer programs. If you have suggestions please contact us. Are their concerts lectures, exhibits or other activities you would like to see at the Meeting House this summer? Drop us a postcard or e-mail us at: If you are a local group looking for a venue for your talents to shine we'd appreciate your dropping us a line.

Friday, February 21, 2014

MARCH 2014 Update

At the end of 2013 the Union Meeting House sent out a mailing to all its members reminding them that the 2013-14 membership year was half done and urging all to renew for the current year. At the same time -- thanks to the kindness of Flo Drake and the Board of the Readfield Historical Society -- a mailing was sent to all members of the Society. It was undertaken since both the UMH and RHS have a shared interest of preserving Readfield's history. The response was encouraging and a number of new members were added to the UMH's rolls. Thank you all. Naturally, the UMH will make its membership list available to the RHS.

 A copy of the UMH newsletter that was mailed in November is available to all who request it. Write or call at the address below.

 The UMH has seventeen windows and during the past years the Board has been moving along in having them restored since they had not received much attention for several decades. In February the restorer, Joseph Caputo of East Pittston, who has done the restoration of all the windows to date, took out the two in the apse. They were in rough condition, with broken glass and severely eroded and weathered sashes. He will work on them this winter and have them back in place this spring.

This restoration is made possible by a most generous gift from Mrs. Nancy Durgin of Readfield. The Board of the Meeting House thanks Nancy for stepping forward to fund the complete rebuilding of these two windows. A memorial plaque will be placed on them this spring.

 Otherwise, the Meeting is buttoned up tight for the winter. At its February meeting next week the Board will review what income has been generated and discuss what projects it can afford to undertake this year. A report on what is decided will be forthcoming in the next Messenger column. In the meantime, think spring!

Contact the UMH at 685-4537 or 158 Thorp Shores, Readfield.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Readfield History Walkers visit UMH

Twenty-three Readfield History Walkers visited Readfield Union House and
also the adjacent UMH Vestry on November 22nd.
Union Meeting House directors were pleased to host the Readfield History Walkers on November 22nd. The group learned about the historical significance of the UMH building and of Charles Schumacher's trompe l'oiel artwork. They also enjoyed seeing other features inside UMH such as the stained glass and stenciled windows. Dale Potter Clark read an address given by Rev. Costello Weston on the 100th anniversary of UMH in 1928. The address included background information  about the first 100 years of UMH and its 43 founders. Many of the building's structural and restorative challenges have been addressed - reported UMH secretary director Milton Wright. He was also pleased to announce that all but one stained glass window has been restored. A $1,000 donation is needed for that project. Wright also shared what other restorations and repairs have been identified  and need to be addressed in the future as contributions and grants become available. History Walkers were given a tour of both the Union Meeting House and the adjacent vestry (aka John Smith Mansion house). There were 23 present - many had never seen the interior of UMH and / or the vestry and were pleased to do so.
Individuals or groups who wish to arrange for a tour of UMH should contact:
Marius Peladeau at (207) 685-4537.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

November 2013 Update

With approaching cold weather the Meeting House is nearly all buttoned up for the winter. A couple of chores need to be completed, hopefully in November. The good news is that the window restorer, Joe Caputo of East Pittston, has finished his work on three more windows. The Asa and Ursula Gile , and the Rev. Carpenter Smith stained glass windows were  scraped, re-glazed, primed and painted inside and out.

Ernest "Tink" Rolfe was Readfield Fire Chief for 34 years.
He and his wife lived on the Winthrop Road across
from the old fire station.

The stenciled glass window that was restored years ago in memory of Mr. and Mrs, Tink Rofle was showing signs of aging and so it was repainted.
Everyone in Maine knows that anything made of wood is never totally restored; it is an ongoing chore. New interior stops were made to properly re-install it, something that had not been done at the time the work was first undertaken.  

With  this work completed it means that only one large window and the two small windows in the apse remain to be done. Therefore,  since 2010 - thanks to the generosity of donors -  it has been possible to completely restore fourteen windows. This is a significant improvement and would not have been possible without the magnificent outpouring of donor support. Thank you all for your continued interest in the UMH.

The Board did not move forward  as much as was hoped on resolving the dampness problem in the crawlspace and basement due to smaller than expected income from the 2013-14 membership drive. Continuing to work on this problem will be the first order of business in 2014.
If you have not renewed your membership, or wish to give an additional donation before the end of the 2013 tax year, the Board would welcome your support.

The UMH wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 2013 Update

The Hooked Rug Exhibition on August 10th
was well attended throughout the day.
 The two events during Heritage Days weekend at the Union Meeting house were a great success.  Both the Hooked Rug Exhibition and the evening concert by the Maranacook String Band and the Sandy River Ramblers drew large and appreciative crowds. People came and kept coming all day at the rug show and showed their enthusiasm by stuffing the donation box. Comments were extremely favorable with guests from out-of-state and all over the State of Maine.
Thanks are extended to Board member, Joan Wiebe, who chaired the event, to Mildred Cole Péladeau who curated it, and to Joe Caputo who made all the display easels, helped set up the exhibit and loaned many of his fine rugs for display.

Thanks are due to Board members Marianne and John Perry for making all the arrangement for the concert. Their coordination of all aspects made it possible for everything to come off without a hitch. The audience was full of energy with a lot of foot-stomping going on. A rough count showed over 100 persons were present. The proceeds, like the rug show donations made a good addition to the bank account. Thanks also to advisory Board member Dale Marie Potter Clark for designed the two posters for the weekend and to all those who distributed them. Flo Drake assisted by taking charge of  the bottled water table during the concert.

To the president the weekend showed what can be accomplished with volunteer help. It also made it obvious that the Meeting House needs more volunteers. If anyone is interested in helping to preserve the Brick Church get in touch with us. The membership drive for 2013-14 is still ongoing and the UMH would appreciate your financial support as it prepares to tackle the next big chore – the removal of moisture from the basement and crawl space to prevent further deterioration of the floor substructure. This will be a five-step project spread out over several years so any assistance you can lend now will help the Board take the first step this fall (hopefully).

Our thanks to Donna McCormick and family for
donating funds to restore the Nancy Hunton Atkinson
window. Donna's mother was a Hunton.
The attendance at the recent events show that people care about the Brick Church. All that is needed to make the restoration and upkeep move ahead more expeditiously is additional financial support and more volunteer effort. Also, remember that the UMH is available for public use. If you wish to schedule weddings, concerts or other programs feel free to contact the Board of Directors. The two weddings held in the sanctuary this summer demonstrated that it is a most pleasing venue for such an occasion.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Historically Significant Hooked Rugs to be Shown August 10th

Several historically significant rugs hooked by
19th century artist Lucy Trask Barnard
will be seen publicly at a hooked rug
show at Readfield's Union Meeting House
on Saturday, August 10, 2013 10am-3pm.
Saturday August 10th 10am-3pm at the Union Meeting House there will be an exhibit of both historical and contemporary hand hooked, shirred, yarn-sewn and punch-needle rugs organized by Mrs. Joan Wiebe, a member of the UMH Board, and Mrs. Mildred Cole Péladeau, author of Rug Hooking in Maine 1838-1940.
 One of the hooked rug highlights will be the first public showing of a striking mid-19th century rug attributed to renowned rug maker, Mrs. Lucy Trask Barnard of Dixfield Common, Maine. This is an exciting new discovery and is the sixth rug attributed to Barnard. Three are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and two are at the Farnsworth Museum of Art in Rockland. Privately owned, it is being made available for the rug show by a noted Maine collector. In all, close to 50 or more rugs will be available for viewing and will include contemporary rugs which have never been out for public display previously.

Rug hooking is an old art form with evidence suggesting that it likely originated in Maine in the second quarter of the 19th century. Early hooked rugs made in the Waldoboro area have achieved great notoriety for their artistic three-dimensional quality and one such rug, made by Minnie Light, will be included. Admission is free but a donation is suggested. All income will go to the UMH restoration fund. Information about being included in the show can be obtained from Mrs. Wiebe at 685-4725.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Maine Bluegrass Concert to benefit Restoration Efforts ~ August 10, 2013 at 7:00pm

On Saturday, August 10, Readfield Union Meeting House will reverberate with Bluegrass music that boasts a distinct Maine twist. Starting at 7:00pm The Sandy River Ramblers and the Maranacook String Band will showcase their repertoire, which includes many original songs about Maine. The concert will benefit restoration efforts at the unique and historic Readfield Union Meeting House on Church Street.
The Maranacook String Band is a youthful group of singers/musicians that started as a gifted and talented project at Maranacook Community School in 2010. “The Sandy River Ramblers is our grown-up band,” says bandleader Stan Keach. He and virtuoso mandolinist Dan Simons play and sing in both bands. The Ramblers are known for their breathtaking instrumentals, their 3-and-4 part harmony singing, and their hilarious comedy numbers.
The performers present fourteen original songs about Maine, all penned by Keach. The tunes are included on their new CD, Cry of the Loon and other original songs about Maine, which showcase the members of both groups. Among the titles are: Donn Fendler, Logger’s Son; Up on Little Round Top (about the 20th Maine at the Battle of Gettysburg); Boots from L. L. Bean; and Slow Down (You’ll Hit A Moose).
Keach is a nationally-known Bluegrass songwriter whose creations have been recorded by some of the biggest names in Bluegrass, but he says, “The (Cry of the Loon) collection, which I’ve been working on for 30 years, is my real labor of love as a songwriter.” Recently he also wrote What the North Pond Hermit Knows which gained notoriety across New England, on You Tube and was featured on the WCSH TV show Bill Green’s Maine.
In addition to Keech and Simons there are instrumentalists in both groups that include: Zach Greenham and Megan Dood; Liz Keach on the upright bass; and Bud Godsoe on the banjo. Vocalists include 19-year-old Julie Churchill, of Fayette, and 17-year-old Lee Stetson of Readfield.
General admission tickets are $10.00 pre-sold and $12.00 at the door. Children under 5 yrs are free. FMI or to reserve tickets call (207) 685-3531

Thank you to our event sponsor Saunders Manufacturing  

Monday, May 13, 2013

UMH "Old Vestry" Giveaway

The "Old Vestry" was part of Capt. John Smith's
mansion. It was donated by his daughter, Ursula
(Smith) Gile. to UMH for use as a vestry in 1868
and moved to this location where it has been used
for religious activities ever since.
It was originally part of the
Asa and Ursula (Smith) Gile home on Main Street. 
Our board of directors has voted to give away (for free) the "Old Vestry" to anyone who will move it off the premises. This 19th century post and beam building has a meeting hall on the first floor and several small rooms on the second floor. It retains old doors and mantles. Windows are new. The "Old Vestry" is located next to the Union Meeting House, 22 Church Road, Readfield. If interested in removing the building call (207) 685-4537 or email

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring has arrived...

We are pleased to announce we made progress last winter on repairs and restorations to the doors and some of our beautiful windows. This work has been made possible with these generous gifts: Two façade windows from the Warren Boenke memorial donations; two front doors - one from Mr. Therrien's gift and one from Evelyn Potter's quilt raffle proceeds; the Huntoon window with Mrs. Donna Page’s donation; three additional windows including the Haines, Pierce and Notables with Susan Wagner memorial gifts. There is still much work left to do at UMH so your donations are welcome and very gratefully received.
Plans are underway for summer activities and the UMH building will be utilized in various ways. For one, there will be a wedding later this month. On June 21st Readfield grammar school alumni (pre- 1956) will be holding a reunion and commencement re-enactment at UMH. Our UMH board and members are planning for Readfield Heritage Days, a benefit concert, lawn sale, and a hooked rug show for later this summer. Stay tuned for details on this and more.
In the meantime we are sprucing up and getting ready for lots of visitors who have interest in touring  UMH. Are you one? If so, please do contact us to make an appointment!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 2013 Update

Just because there is snow piled against the front door does not mean that The Union Meeting House (the Brick Church) is inactive. The stained glass in the bottom sash of the Hunton-Atkinson has been com-pleted by Stained Glass Express (a division of Oakes & Parkhurst in Manchester/Waterville) and returned to the building. The entire win-dow is being restored because of a gift from Mrs. Donna Page... (a Hunton descendent). Mr. Joseph Caputo has taken the top sash to his workshop and is working on the repair of the wooden parts of the window. The entire unit will be re-installed during warmer weather.
Mr. Caputo has also taken the left front door for a complete overhaul in his shop. It needs to be strengthened and tightened up, coats of old paint removed and new primer and paint applied. This is being restored with a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Dana Therrien of Readfield in memory of Mr. Therrien’s parents. Once that door is done Mr. Caputo will take the right hand door and likewise restore it. Funds for that door are coming from the successful quilt raffle organized this past summer by Advisory Board member Evelyn Potter.
At the last Board meeting this month it voted to follow the wishes of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Wagner of Read-field to use the funds donated by friends of their late daughter, Susan, to continue the restoration of the large windows. Three windows are on the list to be done this winter and they will receive a memorial plaque in memory of Miss Wagner once they are returned and installed. More details on this in the February Messenger.
Therefore, persons driving by the Brick Church this winter will see a lot of plywood closing up windows and doors that have been removed for restoration but this is a good time to get the work behind us before the sum-mer season.
If you have not renewed your membership this is a good time to do so. If you want to join with other inter-ested persons and become a first time member, the Board would welcome you on board. We hope that every-one would help to keep the Brick Church as an important Readfield landmark. Thanks for your support.
Contact the UMH at: 685-4537 or 158 Thorp Shores Rd., Readfield 04355.