Dear supporters of the restoration project,
I thought that it was about time to give you an update on the progress of the church renovations. It has been a busy few months at the United Church, and I have lots of news on our progress.
Phase I – Exterior renovations
The first step in the exterior renovations was to replace the roof to stop the leaks. The Hudson brothers replaced the asphalt-shingled roof with a steel gravel roof resembling asphalt shingles. This roof is guaranteed to last 40 to 50 years.
The second step of the exterior restoration began on April 15th with the arrival of Joseph McDonald Movers, who are the largest building movers east of Montreal. We were fortunate to have such an expert team of movers on hand with their impressive hydraulic lifting machinery to move the church.
It took approximately three weeks to prep the building for the move. It was an exciting time for committee and the community. There were several people who were pessimistic that the building could actually be moved without damages, others thought it could not be lifted at all.
During the preparation for the move McDonald’s told me that it was the heaviest lift they have done to date, but not the largest building. I think that bit of information made us all just a little bit more nervous than we already were.
Initially they estimated that the job would take approximately 6 weeks, however due to some unforeseen complications (rotten sills under the building and the steeple) they were another two weeks. The steeple sills had to be replaced before they could proceed.
The church was moved on May 6th and it took approximately 6 hours to move it 21 feet towards Water Street.
We had a contest to guess the weight of the Church prior to the move. Laurie McNairn of Rexton and Edna Whitton of Moncton guessed the weight correctly – 369,000 pounds!
CTV Atlantic News was on hand to capture the event and interview Gwendolyn Reidpath, Dale Dickinson and me. Click here to view CTV Atlantic News story and TV news segment.
We generated good media coverage with stories in The Moncton Times, The Focus, and the Acadie Nouvelle. The week after the move we had Rogers TV tape a story for a news segment, which aired about a month ago.
After the church was moved into position we poured a new 10” wall foundation with bearing points under the main sills of the building, installed 2” Styrofoam on the foundation exterior, installed drain tiles, and backfilled.
The remaining sills still needed a lot of work after the move and this work was completed by Aldoria (Popeye) MacDonald House Moving.
During the relocation of the building, I found a few artifacts under the church – three bottles, a pair of leather shoes (that look to be about 160 years old), door from an old stove and also burned sills from the previous church, which was destroyed by fire.
We could even see evidence of burnt ground under the church. I think that this settles where the old church was really sitting as some thought that the original church sat closer to the river.
Stay tuned for another update on our progress in the next few days.
T. Paul Warren, Chairman