Congregational Church of Topsfield

The Project

This historic meetinghouse on a traditional New England common suffered from decades of slow moisture infiltration and from detrimental, if well-intentioned, 20th century repairs.  The congregation owning the building made a decision to pursue an historic restoration of the building in an effort to return it to its original 1842 condition.

The Process

Mr. Smith managed a team charged with the historic restoration of this building.  This involved assembling the best team available including an architectural preservation firm and a specialized construction firm that are well known for their work in the restoration of historic timber frame structures.  An exhaustive study was done of the building’s issues, both inside and out, and this was thoroughly documented with annotated photographs.  This study formed the basis of the plan for restoration work that involved the removal of the belfry and spire in their entirety, removal of numerous pieces of structural steel inserted as a part of several 20th century repairs and reconstruction using traditional 19th century timber framing techniques.   In addition, this effort involved extensive strategic planning for, and implementation of, fund raising efforts that include public relations, grant writing and targeted appeals.