Branford's Pine Orchard Union Chapel Breaks Ground on Historic Restoration Project
The Pine Orchard Union Chapel is beginning a historic restoration effort to bring the structure back to its original glory. (Photo courtesy Pine Orchard Union Chapel Association )
Shown here in an historic photo, the Pine Orchard Union Chapel is a rare example of Queen Anne-style church architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo courtesy of Pine Orchard Union Chapel Association )
Interior and alter of the Pine Orchard Union Chapel, which today operates as a community gathering place where weddings of every denomination (and no religious affiliation) occur, summer arts and crafts camps are held, community tag sales take place, memorial services are hosted, and community parties occur, according to information shared by the Pine Orchard Union Chapel Association. (Photo courtesy Pine Orchard Union Chapel Association. )
The Pine Orchard Union Chapel, a seasonal, nondenominational building established in 1897 and listed on the National Register, is beginning a historic restoration effort to bring the structure back to its original glory. The $700,000 cost is being supported by more than $400,000 in donations from local residents, a $100,000 grant from the State's Historic Restoration Fund and State Historic Tax Credits (to be purchased by Eversource).
"This is a modern-day barn raising," notes Chapel Association president Barbara Colley. "In the midst of a global pandemic, our community of 400 households is pulling together to ensure that this unique, historic asset is saved. It represents generations of love and community commitment."
The effort includes more than 30 active volunteers and close to 100 donors.
Jonathan Kinney, DECD Director of Operations and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer notes, "The State Historic Preservation Office is inspired by the local efforts to preserve this vital community gathering place for generations to come. We feel fortunate that the Chapel Association reached out to our office and that our important state programs—the Historic Restoration Fund Grant and The State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program can provide funding and credits for the restoration."
The Chapel will host an outdoor, socially distant groundbreaking event [with speakers] on Monday, October 19 at 11 a.m. that is open to the public.
About the Restoration Project
The restoration will happen in 3 phases. Phase 1 includes lifting the building to make repairs and assure code-compliance; restoration of the cupola; restoration of several windows; relocation of mechanicals, and repairs to the skirting. The restoration is being led by a Building Committee made up of Pine Orchard residents with expertise building and restoration.
Pine Orchard Union Chapel is located at 25 Chapel Drive in Branford's Pine Orchard section.