Webster Meeting House getting long-awaited repairs

  • The marker for the Webster Meeting House that was originally the West Boscawen Meeting House built in 1791. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Cameron Lorden of CL Metal and Wood Works out Salisbury (right) works with his crew on removing the old clapboards of the Webster Meeting House. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Cameron Lorden of CL Metal and Wood Works out of Salisbury (right) works with his crew on removing the old clapboards of the Webster Meeting House.

  • Cameron Lorden of CL Metal and Wood Works out of Salisbury removes old wood from the Webster Meeting House. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • The Webster Meeting House on Rt. 127 is getting a makeover with new clapboarding on the south side of the building and the Webster Historical Society is looking for a painter for the entire structure. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Cameron Lorden of CL Metal and Wood Works out of Salisbury (right) works with his crew on removing the old clapboards of the Webster Meeting House. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • TOP: The marker for the National Register of Historical Places for the Webster Meeting House that was built in 1791.

  • Cameron Lorden of CL Metal and Wood Works out of Salisbury removes old wood from the Webster Meeting House. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Published: 9/21/2021 5:47:04 PM

After more than two centuries of weather and decades of tinkering, the exterior of the historic Webster Meeting House is getting a facelift.

“This is yet the latest restoration effort,” said Barbara Corliss, the treasurer of the Webster Historical Society.

All of the clapboards on the south-facing side of the meeting house are being removed and replaced, while about one-fifth of the boards on the other sides of the building will be new.

“We had originally thought that all it needed was under the coat of paint,” Corliss said.

But the extent of the work turned out to be much more. Back in 1979, the society elevated the building a poured a concrete foundation underneath. Over time the concrete crawl space collected water, which then evaporated up into the building. In turn, the exterior boards began to retain moisture and the paint started to peel, Corliss explained.

The society hired a contractor to put a vapor barrier in the basement, they had all the windows professionally restored, and now they’ve moved on to repairing the exterior shell.

Cameron Lorden, of CL Metal & Woodworks in Salisbury, was chosen to do repair the exterior.

“We put out a bid and because he’s a hometown boy, we were happy he came in at the right price,” Corliss said.

This phase is about to take three weeks and when it is finished, the society needs to get the whole building painted before winter.

“This side is getting 100% new clapboards. And then the other three sides are getting like 20% of their clapboards replace and all the windows either are getting epoxied windowsills, or new window sills,” Lorden said. “And all windows and water table boards and door headers are getting all new flashing.”

Built in 1791, the Old Webster Meeting House is now listed on the New Hampshire and the National Register of Historic Places.

The Webster Historical Society acquired the building in 1941 because its original site fell within a flood control project by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The building was condemned and it was slated to be demolished. Then came the formation of the Society for the Preservation of the Old Meeting House, which saved the building from demolition and hired the Walter Hill Company out of Tilton to move it up to its present location. 

Still owned by the historical society, the meeting house now serves as a local museum.

The society is currently taking bids to paint the building and interested contractors can reach them through their website

Once it’s all said and done, the work will have cost about $200,000, which took more than five years of fundraising and is nearly complete.  

“We have been fundraising crazy for years to get to this point,” Corliss said. “So that's the smile on my face.”




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