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Preservation society orders repair of meetinghouse balustrade

Preservation society orders repair of meetinghouse balustrade

SHIRLEY — The Historic Meetinghouse Preservation Society approved an undetermined sum necessary to hire a steeple jack to remove the balustrade and weathervane atop the 1700’s building in order to complete repairs.

Second Vice President Robert Adam will oversee the project when it comes to pass, although a date was not set at the society’s annual meeting held last week.

The cost of the steeple removal and the necessary repairs is expected to be around $3,500.

”I don’t anticipate this expanding tremendously,” said Adam.

Other building fixes are on the agenda include matching and replacing some of the wallpaper inside the building, which was carefully reused and replaced by Melvin Longley.

Adam was a little disappointed with donations this year, and asked members if they should be more aggressive when soliciting for funds.

Gifts have dropped off, he said, although the society recently ran an appeal in the Shirley Volunteer.

Member Holly Haase, who handles wedding bookings at the Meetinghouse, said she was able to obtain advertising sponsorships for the Web site from Fidelity Bank, Keystone Properties and attorney Ernest Hyde.

The Web site — — was launched in 2004 and has been somewhat successful, Haase said.

”I think it’s a way to try to generate funds,” said Haase.

The society did receive two gifts for the Meetinghouse archives, said Treasurer Paul Przybyla.

Marion Iverson donated two documents, which serve as proof of the early activities at the Meetinghouse.

With a certificate hand-dated November 9, 1839, for the sum of $81, church Treasurer Thomas Whitney Jr. sold the use of pew 14 to carpenter Wilder Dodge.

The historic gift from Iverson, who shares a great-aunt with member Harley Holden reads, “That I, Thomas Whitney Jr., of Shirley, in the county of Middlesex and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, yeoman as treasurer of the First Parish in said Shirley, in consideration of $81 paid by Wilder Dodge, of said Shirley, carpenter, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby give, grant, sell and convey unto the said Wilder Dodge his heirs and assigns, a pew, situated in the Meetinghouse of the First Parish in said Shirley, numbered 14 as the pews are now designated.”

With the second deed, dated 1887, resident and widow Mary Parker sold pew number 24 to the church for $1 in consideration of members who may not have been able to afford a seat at the meetinghouse.

Treasurer Jacob P. Hazen, the church’s treasurer at the time, was said in the letter to have acknowledged the dedication.

At the end of the meeting, members cast a slate of one ballot to re-elect the current officers of the society. They are President Meredith Marcinkewicz, Vice President Charles Colburn, Second Vice President Robert Adam, Treasurer Paul Pryzybyla, and clerk and auditor Donald Reed.