Main fundraiser photo

Save our Steeple - A Durham, NH Historic Landmark

Tax deductible
Durham’s iconic steeple on top of the Community Church is the highest, most visible symbol of our town. At nearly 180 years old, it’s in dire need of major repairs and we need your help!

Steeple repairs are expensive: $205,000. Can the community help meet the church’s match and preserve this icon?

We’re asking individuals and organizations to make a donation--large or small—to Save Our Steeple (and to share this link!)

Why we're asking
The church needs more than $1.3m to cover maintenance and improvement projects, including a major rehabilitation of the steeple. Church members have committed almost $1 million in contributions. In addition we are pursuing State and National grants for historic buildings to help fund the steeple restoration. To qualify, we must show Community support with funding contributions from community members.

The church is a centerpiece of the Durham Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic places. The steeple is as important to the historic identity of the town as it is to the identity of the church.

How we serve the Community
We have a widespread reputation as a welcoming center of community life: our building is open for community-wide meditation, yoga, funerals, the Scouts, regional LGBTQ+ youth events, programs with the school district’s Equity & Justice Team, performances, recitals, and art exhibits. Friends in Action serves adults with disabilities, reaching 100 families from 50 towns in 3 states. We house their regional office, and they offer programs throughout the building all week, including co-managing the Thrift Shop. As part of the Seacoast Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition, we provide on-site housing for immigrants.

Our history
The Community Church evolved from the original “meeting house” of the Oyster River Plantation, settled in 1655. By the mid-1800s the town center shifted up the hill; so did the church. Built in 1848-49 by Durham resident Moses H. Wiggin, the building is of Greek Revival Style, with an octagonal steeple and an unusual open belfry in an earlier Federal Style.
Historical tidbits:
• Builder Moses H. Wiggin built and owned the mills at Wiswall Falls
• At the Town’s incorporation in 1732, the church minister proposed the name “Durham”
• In the 1740s, the church played a leading role in the colonial revival known as the Great Awakening, and even hid gunpowder under the pulpit for the patriots in 1774

The work that your generosity will fund


A preservation contractor has provided a detailed scope and cost of work. The tongue and groove siding of the steeple is rotting: over the past 10 years, a contractor has gone up on 3 separate occasions to make limited repairs to the worst damage. All of that siding will be replaced and matched exactly with custom trim and shapes. The steeple structure needs to be reinforced to ensure long term stability and reduce the risks of heavy storm damage. This work will be done carefully inside the steeple with new steel plates bridging the original wood framing. Significant portions of the belfry siding are peeling off and need to be replaced. Various wood skirts and trim pieces need repairs. The copper roof under the belfry is very old and in need of attention. A layer of specialized roofing will cover much of the copper to preserve it. The entire steeple and belfry need to be scraped, cleaned, repainted, caulked and sealed. All of this will be done with full scaffolding and should be fun to watch.

What we’re asking

Please give, and share this page with your friends and family. On behalf of Friends of the Steeple and the Community Church of Durham, we thank you for your generosity!
Donate

Donations 

  • Nancy Miner
    • $100 
    • 19 d
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 24 d
  • Brad Jobel
    • $100 
    • 24 d
  • Mary Alice Schatzle
    • $100 
    • 26 d
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 27 d
Donate

Organizer

Friends of the Steeple Committee
Organizer
Durham, NH
Community Church of Durham, UCC
 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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