The Readfield Union Meeting House recently received a $4,000 grant from the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust of Portland to meet half of the cost of a totally new electrical system at the landmark building, according to a news release from Marius B. Peladeau, the grant’s author and current Meeting House Historian.

“It has been obvious for many years that the bare-bones electrical wiring installed many decades ago was totally inadequate for the building’s needs today,” Peladeau said in the release. “The programs currently being presented at the Meeting House require a most sophisticated electrical system that will allow for additional lighting, as well as audio systems for speakers and musicians and also allow for expansion of other mechanical needs in the future. “

The specification for the project were developed and approved by the meeting house’s building committee, consisting of James Tukey, John M. Perry and Peladeau, so as to not intrude on the architectural features that places the building on the National Trust for Historic Preservation landmark. The total cost of the work was more than $8,000.

Of the bids submitted, the one by Steven H. Mallen of @Home Electric in Mt. Vernon was accepted as the one best able to fulfill the requirements of the building committee. The project entailed the installation of a new 100 amp service in the building, with an additional 20-circuit panel in the basement to allow for the installation of a sump pump and a dehumidification system in the future. In addition, another 60-amp circuit panel was installed in the clock tower to provide electricity to a series of new lights in the attic, the stairwells and to power the clock and its bell once they are restored.

In addition, many more baseboard outlets and lighting fixtures were installed in all those areas of the building which were not previously adequately serviced. “Not only does the new system resolve past limitations,” Peladeau said in the release, “but it also makes the building safer by eliminating dark staircases and rooms, and by expanding service so that potentially a humidity control and basement ventilation system can be added if that is found necessary”

The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust is dedicated to the support of conservation, historic preservation, culture and education in Maine. It awarded grant funds to the meeting house previously to assist in the rebuilding of the floor sub-structure project which was successfully completed in 2017, according to the release.

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