Mattapoisett Friends Meeting House

Mattapoisett Friends Meeting has learned it might take upwards of $245,000 to restore its historic 1827 meeting house on Route 6 and has begun a fund-raising campaign to help raise some of that amount.

The estimate was provided by J. M. Booth & Associates, Inc., of New Bedford, an architectural firm, who issued a 17-page report for the Quakers earlier this year. Booth is currently involved in the multi-million dollar New Bedford Port Society/WHALE project involving the historic Seamen’s Bethel and Mariner’s Home.

The 16-member meeting has decided to conduct its fund-raising over four phases and several years and needs public support to accomplish its goal. The first phase, estimated at $77,000, involves work on the first floor structure.

“We inspected the first floor structure from the crawlspace,” the report stated, “and found it to be significantly deteriorated due to bug infestation, rot and poor maintenance and renovations.”

In addition, the floor of the crawl space has been dug out of the clay soil to allow the heating system to be installed. “The excavated area where the heating system is located needs to be expanded and proper foundation walls installed to retain the earth,” the report states.

There are other problems in that area including mold, cracks in the joints of the granite foundation, the first floor framing needing replacement along with proper footings.

The second phase of the project, estimated at $51,000, involves replacing plaster walls which are now cracking and the need for diagonal bracing and solid plywood blocking between the existing wall framing.

Phases 3 and 4, estimated at $135,000, involve other extensive restoration issues, and heating, sound and fire alarm systems. This work is planned to be done in the future.

To date, the meeting has raised $22,000 including two grants totaling $14,000 from Quaker sources. For Phase 1 work, another $55,000 is needed. Grants from other sources have been applied for, banks solicited and fund-raising plans discussed.

The first fund-raiser is planned for mid-May, a Donate Your Old Doll Day.

Members of the Religious Society of Friends have worshipped in the Old Rochester area since the late 1600s. The Mattapoisett meeting house has been in continuous use since it was built in 1827. It now serves residents from Fairhaven to Wareham. The building is on the Massachusetts Register of Historic Places.

Residents who would like to help financially should send a check, in any amount, to Mattapoisett Friends Meeting, P.O. Box 795, Mattapoisett, MA 02739. Please write Restoration Fund on the memo line. All gifts will be acknowledged.

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