Key Events

Summer 2020

  • CCR is awarded a $8,500 matching grant from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors for the development of a conservation plan
  • Restoration of the Clinton Church is included in an Architectural Digest article titled “When Architecture and Racial Justice Intersect,” which highlights the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and its efforts to preserve Black historic sites (CCR is among the Fund’s 60 grantees)
  • Massachusetts Humanities awards CCR $2,500 in CARE Act funding

Spring 2020

  • Wray Gunn, Sr., chair of the CCR board of directors, receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the  Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires and the Center’s Unsung Heros Award goes to Sabrina Allard, a member of CCR’s Programming and Interpretation Committee
  • Significant structural damage is revealed through further investigation and plans and budget for the most urgent repairs are developed
  • The Proun Design team completes an interpretive plan and initial audience research for the restored facility
  • Richbrook Conservation prepares an interim report to address interior finishes being impacted by construction
  • Housatonic Heritage receives a $50,000 history grant from the National Park Service African American Civil Rights program for interpretive exhibit design at the historic church
  • To make way for necessary relocation of power lines away from the belfry, the Town of Great Barrington removes the Norway Maple tree in front of the church

Winter 2020

  • COVID-19 hits the Berkshires
  • CCR president and longtime Clinton Church member, Wray Gunn, Sr, celebrates his 90th birthday!
  • The Feigenbaum Foundation awards CCR $100,000 grant for Phase II Design
  • Structural damage to the building is uncovered during roof construction, leading to further investigation and assessment by Silman, the project’s structural engineer
  • On January 17, Phase II Design kicks off with an all-day session with Proun Design, Huff + Gooden Architects, and members of CCR’s board and programming and interpretation committee.
  • Proun Design is selected to provide interpretive planning and exhibit design services for CCR’s planned African American Heritage Site and Cultural Center. The Proun team, led by Chris Danemayer, includes Michelle Jarvis, Neal Mayer, Molly O’Brien, Regie Gibson, Thomas Gille, Dina Bailey, Northern Light Productions, Abernathy Lighting Design, and People, Places and Design Research. Dr. Kendra Field is the team’s scholar/historian.

Fall 2019

  • Construction on the church begins with kickoff event on October 23
  • Larochelle Construction, Inc. is awarded the contract for Phase IA roof work
  • Request for proposals issued for Interpretive Planning and Exhibit Design Services for CCR’s planned African American Heritage Site and Cultural Center
  • CCR board member Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed, Professor Emeritus at MCLA, and CCR interim executive director Eugenie Sills present a workshop at Preservation Massachusetts’ statewide historic preservation conference in Plymouth, MA
  • The Jane & Jack Fitzpatrick Trust awards a $75,000 grant to Clinton Church Restoration for Phase II Design work

Summer 2019

  • Stockbridge-based architect Pamela Sandler joins the Huff + Gooden design team as the project’s historic preservation architect/consultant following John James’ announcement that he is retiring
  • Clinton Church Restoration is awarded a $75,000 planning grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund for the development of Phase II architectural and engineering plans
  • Invitation to bid re-issued for Phase IA roof work
  • Historic preservationist Paul Ivory (a CCR building committee member) and CCR interim executive director Eugenie Sills present at an event on the adaptive use of historic churches hosted by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and Western Massachusetts Historic Commission Coalition in Great Barrington

Spring 2019

  • 200+ people attend the June 9th benefit concert, “Common Ground: A Celebration of Jazz and Jewish Music with Wanda Houston and Paul Green,” held at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire
  • Invitation to bid issued for Phase IA roof work
  • The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund awards Clinton Church Restoration a Feasibility and Technical Assistance grant of $30,000 to help fund the development of architectural and engineering plans for Phase II Design
  • An evening of youth poetry, featuring slam poet Kofi Dadzie and MassLeap’s Alex Charalambides, is held at Fuel Bistro as part of a statewide celebration of ArtWeek
  • Essence magazine includes the hiring of Huff + Gooden for the restoration of the church in its April issue under “Trending Topics” — the first national coverage  of the project
  • Chris Cole of Cole Engineering and Construction is engaged as Clinton Church Restoration’s Owner’s Rep for Phase I

Winter 2019

  • Advisory board member Eugenie Sills is named Interim Executive Director
  • Mario Gooden of Huff + Gooden Architects is engaged as project architect and principal consultant; Gooden will lead the project’s design and engineering team, which includes John A. James Architect, Mabel O. Wilson of Studio &, Hood Design Studio, Silman Associates, Landmark Facilities Group, Berkshire Engineering and Accu-Cost
  • A project kickoff meeting with the design team is held on January 25 at Berkshire South Community Center; structural engineer begins documentation work
  • Preservation Massachusetts presents its K. Julie McCarthy Community Spirit Award and recognizes the addition of the church to the Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources List, at an event at the Great Barrington Town Hall on January 31
  • Request for Proposal issued for Owner’s Rep for Phase I
  • A group from the Jubilee School in Philadelphia visits the church as part of a three-day visit organized by the W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series and Monument Valley Middle School. Rev. Esther Dozier and the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church organized the Jubilee School’s first visit to Great Barrington nearly 20 years ago.

Fall 2018

  • A formal selection process is undertaken for project design and engineering team
  • CCR board and advisory board members attend Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Board Leadership Forum at Simon’s Rock
  • Great Barrington’s new downtown Cultural District, which includes the historic Clinton Church, is announced by the Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Preservation Massachusetts names the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church to its list of Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources and awards the K. Julie McCarthy Community Spirit Award to CCR at its annual Believe in Preservation event in Boston
  • Preservation Works! project sign installed in front of the church; sign acknowledges grant funding from the National Park Service, Massachusetts Historical Commission and the Town of Great Barrington

Summer 2018

  • Approximately 75 people attend a reception on the lawn of the Clinton Church following Great Barrington RiverWalk’s program, W.E.B. Du Bois: Born by a Golden River, an afternoon of readings and musical offerings honoring Du Bois’ special connection with rivers
  • Request for proposals issued for historic preservation, design and engineering services for the restoration and adaptive reuse of former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church
  • On August 27, the 55th anniversary of the death of W.E.B. Du Bois, the Great Barrington Selectboard voted unanimously to form an official town committee to honor the legacy of its most famous native son

Spring 2018

  • Architect Steve McAllister of Clark & Green and preservationist Bill Finch present their findings from their Historic Structure Report at  St. James Place on April 15
  • Benefit performance/talk and book signing with Ray Anthony Shepard, author of Now or Never! 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery held at First Congregational Church in Great Barrington on May 5
  • May 29th marks the 10th anniversary of the listing of Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Great Barrington voters approve the award of $100k in Community Preservation Act funding for Phase I work on the church

Winter 2018

  • Historic Structure Report received from Clark & Green Architects
  • Strategy Overview Report received from The Jackson Design Group
  • The collection at January 15th MLK Day Interfaith Service at First Congregational Church in Great Barrington will benefit efforts to restore Clinton Church
  • National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grants Program awards$388,508 to Housatonic Heritage for Phase I work on the church
  • Secretary of the Commonwealth and Massachusetts Historical Commission awarded a $75,000 MPPF emergency grant to CCR for Phase I work

Fall 2017

  • Two-day Planning Workshop with key stakeholders facilitated by Partners for Sacred Spaces, a national nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and active community use of historic religious properties, and Veronica Jackson. A preliminary master plan will be produced post-workshop.
  • CCR co-sponsors film screening and discussion of Dear White People with Great Barrington’s Mason Library and Railroad Street Youth Project
  • Great Barrington’s Community Preservation Committee votes unanimously to recommend funding of CCR’s grant proposal for restoration work on the church
  • Leaking roof is patched  pro bono
  • Received 501c3 approval from the IRS

Summer 2017

  • Great Barrington-based Clark & Green Architects engaged to undertake Conditions Survey and Historic Structure Report
  • Greenagers, an environmental education program that provides jobs for youth, helps CCR volunteers remove, clean and store the church pews and other church belongings
  • Local group re-enacts 1963 Civil Rights Roundtable at Dewey Hall as a benefit for CCR
  • Berkshire Playwrights Lab performance of “Some Old Black Man” at St. James Place benefits CCR
  • Filmed discussion of church memories with former congregants and others facilitated by Frances Jones-Sneed held at Simon’s Rock
  • Collaboration with Berkshire Oral History Project and Berkshire NAACP begins
  • Local photographer Julie McCarthy documented the inside of the church
  • RFP issued for development of a Historic Structure Report on the church

Spring 2017

  • Initial $100,000 fundraising goal surpassed on March 30 (one day early)
  • Clinton Church Restoration closes on the purchase of the Clinton Church on May 31

Winter 2017

  • Former congregants and community members celebrate the 130th anniversary of the dedication of the church on February 6
  • A public meeting and two design charrettes facilitated by interpretive master planner Veronica Jackson result in an internal Visioning Report for the board
  • Fundraising reception held at Barnbrook Realty for Southern Berkshire business community
  • Benefit screening of new James Baldwin documentary held at the Triplex GB
  • Students at Simon’s Rock College of Bard holds a fundraiser for CCR
  • $10,000 challenge grant from the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site is met

Fall 2016

  • Initial organizing meetings to save the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church are convened in Great Barrington
  • Volunteers form Clinton Church Restoration with longtime Clinton Church member Wray Gunn as chair
  • Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area (Housatonic Heritage) agrees to act as fiscal agent for the project
  • Clinton Church Restoration incorporates as a Massachusetts nonprofit
  • Fundraising campaign to raise $100,000 to save the church begins
  • Roof leak patched by volunteers with permission of the church’s owner