Old Frontenac church's updates harken back to yesteryearAs a small white church undergoes renovations and updates, instead of looking newer it’s actually appearing older.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
OLD FRONTENAC — As a small white church undergoes renovations and updates, instead of looking newer it’s actually appearing older.
Older as in more original, that is.
A volunteer preservation committee is working to restore Christ Episcopal Church to the original state it was 144 years ago. The effort comes as the church’s 150th anniversary quickly approaches, and plans have been in the works for the past couple of years already.
It wasn’t until the latter part of 2011, however, that the first step of the multi-phased renovation was completed. The church’s roof went from having asphalt shingles to cedar shakes, the material used when the church was built in 1868.
The project’s next point of focus is the windows and the siding, which are being worked on simultaneously. Since Sunday services continue to be held at Christ Episcopal Church, work is being done on one end of the church at a time to avoid disrupting the ability to have worship.
A Winona, Minn., business is returning every stained-glass window to its original state and adding an exterior protective product to allow people to see the church’s historic artwork from inside and out.
As work on the windows comes along, organizers have proceeded to hire a local contractor to deal with the siding. In its entire existence, the church has never been re-sided. Instead, it was painted throughout the years to give a fresh appearance at a more reasonable cost.
The first-ever re-siding is projected to begin this month and will include removing old siding, cleaning the walls and installing new siding to resemble that of the church back in 1868.
“Our project at Christ Church Old Frontenac is going better than we could have hoped it would go a year ago,” church member Brad Stone said.
While progress is moving along at a smooth pace, renovations rely on funding — and renovations don’t come cheap. The Christ Church Old Frontenac Preservation Partnership has been raising money all along and completing various phases as funding becomes available. Donations from a local foundation, community resident contributions, church members and various fundraising activities have all provided more than $170,000 up to this point.
“The project has been successful raising money so far, but we have a lot more work to do,” Stone said. “We estimate that the total renovation will cost roughly $300,000.”
With funds continually needed, the Preservation Partnership is planning to participate in the 100-mile garage sale. Taking part last year allowed the group to collect upwards of $7,000, all of which was applied to the roofing phase of restorations.
The church’s sale will be at Chateau Frontenac, formerly Methodist Retreat Campus in Frontenac, from May 4-6.
“We are currently accepting donations of garage sale items,” Stone noted, adding that volunteers would be more than happy to pick up any items people want to provide to help with the renovation.
While the garage sale is a significant contributor to overall fundraising efforts, individual monetary donations are welcome as well. Financial offerings can be made at www.christchurcholdfrontenac.org.