The Readfield Union Meeting House “Push to the Top” Capital Campaign has set a goal to raise $200,000 to support a major restoration initiative for the meeting house and vestry. The campaign will help fund restoration of the clock and tower, and construction of a 30-foot tall spire on the meeting house. Funds also will support renovation of the vestry so that it can provide a gathering place for the community, according to a news release from John Perry.

Maine State Historian Earle G, Shettleworth Jr. stated, “40 years after the Union Meeting House in Readfield was built in 1828, its interior was transformed into one of Maine’s most spectacular examples of trompe l’oeil decoration by artist Charles J. Schumacher of Portland. Since 1868 Schumacher’s stunning wall and ceiling paintings have delighted visitors to this historic building. Their preservation merits the support of all who value Maine’s cultural heritage,” according to the release.

The Union Meeting House Board of Directors is asking for patrons to pledge their financial support in installments over the next three years. Details of the restoration work being planned is available online at unionmeetinghouse.org, or from board members.

Any payments received during December will be matched by a generous grant from Jack and Anita Smart.

Work to conserve the renowned trompe l’oeil painted walls and ceiling, and structural repairs to the meeting house have been conducted over the past four decades. These efforts, funded by donations, fundraising events and foundations, have laid the groundwork for this final push to complete restoration of this historic building in time for its 200th birthday.

According to the release, the Meeting House, an architectural gem in the center of Readfield, is the third oldest brick church in Maine. Its rich architectural history earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, with dedicated stewardship by its Board of Directors, it serves as a gathering place for civic and cultural events for Readfield and the surrounding communities.

For more information, call Perry, RUMHCo treasurer, at 207-931-8281.

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