by Darma Kamenetz, photos by Kellie Welborn
You may have noticed activity of late around the former Strawbridge Methodist Church at the corner of Park Avenue and Wilson St. Yes, it’s true–it’s finally being restored. Bolton Hill Belfry, LLC, took ownership of the building in June, and now plans to bring the property back to its former glory.
Built in 1881, the building has been vacant for years and suffers severely from neglect. The structural integrity of all three of the interior spaces— a sanctuary, social hall and rectory— has been undermined by water penetration.
The good news is that the exquisite stained glass windows, aside from a few missing panes in the social hall, are intact. And although the magnificent stone walls and slate roof have deteriorated, they can be saved.
During the first stage of restoration, workers will rebuild the chimneys and buttresses, replace gutters and downspouts, repoint the exterior walls, and repair the slate roofs.
Gregory Kamenetz, president of Bolton Hill Belfry, is leaving the future use of the building open for discussion. “We can best address use once the building is restored— when people can come in and see and be inspired by the possibilities,” he said.