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Pierrepont historian says church needs makeover

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PIERREPONT — The Pierrepont Free Association Church, built in 1887, was last updated in 1997 and is in serious need of a renovation, according to town historian Barbara J. Daniels.

“It’s on the other side of the Town Hall and is in dire need of painting,” Ms. Daniels said. “That church is just beautiful inside, and we’re trying to get it painted this year.”

According to a document written by former town historian Betty B. Newton, the Town Hall was built in 1846, and a committee was commissioned to build it large enough to hold religious services.

A church association subsequently was formed in July 1874 and regular services were held in the Town Hall.

“On Oct. 23, 1884, work apparently began on the (church.) Between then and Nov. 17, the wall was built by Bill Andrews. Then a ‘bee’ was held and the frame was put up and enclosed for the winter. Work resumed the following May,” the document read. “Rev. William Whitfield, Baptist minister, who had conducted services for many years in the Town Hall, preached the first service on March 13, 1887.”

In 1974, lighting was upgraded at the building, and further renovations were completed in 1997.

“In 1997, the structure was raised for a new foundation, with a new furnace being installed. Also, about this time, along with this extensive work, exterior painting was finished with donations from former residents and those whose ancestors lived in Pierrepont to obtain a matching grant to achieve its goal,” the letter said.

The current historian said that tentative plans are in place to begin the paint job this summer, but funds will have to be raised for the work.

“The Ladies of Pierrepont Community Club have taken on the task of fixing up the church and raising funds for the work,” Ms. Daniels said. “They haven’t started it yet, but I am picking up the paint July 18. ... What’s going to be done this year for sure is the front of the building.”

The church is no longer being used for a congregation, but is still used for occasional weddings, and donations have dwindled, according to the letter.

“It’s an important part of history and I want to kind of bring attention to this old church and it has been kind of neglected,” Ms. Daniels said.

“Now, many years later, we see this remarkable church in much need of repairing and painting. A leak was discovered recently as well as the paint peeling from this beautiful structure,” Ms. Newton’s document said. “It is hoped that with the help of interested parties, it will soon be back to its original beauty.”

Donations can be made payable to Pierrepont Community Club Church Fund and mailed c/o Pierrepont Town Hall, 864 Route 68, Canton, N.Y. 13617.

For each 50-cent donation given, the person’s name will be entered in a drawing for a handmade quilt.

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