Church of the Messiah Rehabilitation of Stone Belfry


Location: 22 Church St, Woods Hole, MA 02543
Applicant: Church of the Messiah
Grant: $63,000
Year/Article: November 2012, A44

In 2012 the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole requested from the CPFund and was appropriated by Town Meeting a grant of $63,000 for the rehabilitation of the church’s stone belfry. On the campus of the church there are four buildings jointly owned by the Church and the Woods Hole Village Cemetery. Church of the Messiah was the first church in Woods Hole. Twenty-five laymen founded it in 1852, led by Jeremiah Hopkins and Joseph Story Fay. Joseph Fay, Woods Hole’s first summer resident, donated three acres adjoining the village burying ground as the site for a wooden church, constructed in 1852 and used until 1888. In 1889 Mr. Fay constructed the current stone church on the property and the original wooden church became office and Sunday School space. The stone church is a hallmark property whose character is integral to the fabric of the Woods Hole Community.

In 2012 cracking and spalling of the mortar joins between the large stones that form the exterior walls was resulting in water infiltration in the belfry and the main body of the church. The damage was especially severe in the belfry, built completely of stone, with no slate roof, and with louvers with badly deteriorated wood. During rainstorms, water ran down the bell rope.

The Church raised an additional $43,000 for the needed work, including funds from the Woods Hole Foundation, church members, and Woods Hole residents. Work was completed in July 2015, including rehabilitation of the louvers and the installation of a waterproofing membrane on the bell chamber floor to collect storm water and convey it to the outer walls to be discharged. 

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