Historic Ferrisburgh meeting hall steeple gets some TLC

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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FERRISBURGH, Vt. (WCAX) - The Ferrisburgh Union Meeting Hall needs some TLC, and some of that remodeling began Friday.

Friday was game day at the Union Meeting Hall in Ferrisburgh. The historic structure is about to get a facelift. Crews will take down the steeple for repair.

“It’s just age and wear and tear on the siding and trim,” said Dan Cockerline with Skipjack Building.

In 1840, the Baptist, Congregationalist, and Methodist congregations in the community built the church together. “They joined forces and raised enough money to build one meeting house, which they called the Union Meeting Hall,” said Jean Richardson Ferrisburgh Town Maintenance Committee.

The former slave and abolitionist Fredrick Douglass delivered a speech at the hall in 1843.

“It’s an incredibly beautiful building. It’s got 11 gothic windows and natural light inside. It’s the most beautiful meeting space,” Richardson said.

The cost to renovate the meeting hall could be over a half-a-million dollars. The town years ago set aside $70,000 to repair the steeple.

Cockerline and his crew have already done the prep work.” If everything goes right, it will just slide off,” he said.

Three men inside the steeple strap the structure, unbolt it, and then bring it down. What took months of planning took less than an hour to come down. “I think it’s a big relief to have this thing on the ground,” Cockerline said. Now he has his own “steeplechase,” a race to repair and position the structure before “Ferrisburgh Day” in late September.

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