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Historic church set to reopen

A church in Barkhamsted that's on the National Registry of Historic Places has been empty for eight months, but that'...

Posted: May 8, 2018 1:58 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 1:58 PM

A church in Barkhamsted that's on the National Registry of Historic Places has been empty for eight months, but that's about to change.

The First Congregational Church of Barkhamsted had to be vacated in September due to structural issues.

"Since Christmas [we're] considered to be exiles on this world," said Rev. Susan Wyman. "We were kind of exiles wandering around."

Worshippers were forced to gather at the Town Community Room.

"Every time the wind blew and every time a storm was threatened, we were kind of nervous," Wyman said.

The damage from a storm could have been catastrophic, Wyman said.

"It would have been a great loss to history. It's not just the church. This is also a historical place for the community," she explained.

Thanks to grants from a local foundation and the State of Connecticut, everything will be preserved.

"It's always better to restore than to replace," said Troy Debaise, job supervisor, Kronenberger & Sons Restoration.

The building was built in 1845 but its significance in the town of Barkhamsted dates back to its founding in the late 1700s.

Contractors will be stabilizing and improving the existing structure while bringing it up to code and maintaining its historical qualities.

"We're basically bringing the structure back to probably stronger than what it was built," Debaise said.

Wyman said the church could still use the community's support to finish the project.

In the meantime, she said she's just happy the congregation will have its home back next month.

"It's a space that you can come in and go 'ah' and just be one," she said.

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