Historic Deerfield get $10K to repair historic buildings

  • The Deerfield Community Center in Old Deerfield. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/30/2023 3:01:59 PM
Modified: 5/30/2023 3:01:33 PM

GREENFIELD — Historic Deerfield has landed a $10,000 grant from a state nonprofit to fix the Deerfield Community Center’s belfry, which has rotted or damaged wood.

The grant is being awarded through a partnership of Preservation Massachusetts and The 1772 Foundation, which also awarded $745 for front door restoration of the Clapp Memorial Library in Belchertown.

The belfry, according to project description from The 1772 Foundation, requires “significant repairs,” as deferred maintenance, rot and animal activity has caused structural deterioration on the feature, which dates to around 1838. Replacements will be made in-kind and additional work will be done on the roof, which was installed in the second half of the 19th century.

Historic Deerfield Vice President of Development and Communications Jesse Vanek said the museum was looking at a roof repair for a while, but after having some experts analyze the building, the nonprofit shifted gears to look at the belfry.

“After we had some experts that helped us to evaluate it and determined that the roof itself was in fine condition and some of the water problems we were experiencing were due to the belfry,” Vanek said.

Vanek said they’ll be repairing some of the wood, replacing some asphalt roof material with copper roofing, along with measures to reduce water infiltration and prevent animals from entering the structure. He expects the work to be done sometime this summer and thanked Preservation Massachusetts and the 1772 Foundation for its grant funding.

“With anything like this, being a historic building, we have a dual obligation to maintain the building as best we can and be minimally invasive in the solutions we use,” Vanek said. “And we think this will accomplish both these goals.”

The two projects are among 16 across the state that received up to $10,000 in matching grants for exterior restorations and repairs on historic structures.

“Since 2020 this program has demonstrated the significant impact that even small grants can make. The need for dollars to fund critical repairs and the ongoing maintenance of these buildings grows each year,” said Preservation Massachusetts President and CEO Erin Kelly in a statement. “The projects that this year’s grant recipients will undertake help ensure that the historic resources that are integral parts of our communities remain for tomorrow.”

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