Restoration Work to Begin at Former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church

Construction Kickoff Event Set for October 23 at 12:30pm

GREAT BARRINGTON (October 18, 2019) — Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. has engaged a general contractor to undertake the first phase of restoration work on the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church at 9 Elm Court in Great Barrington. Larochelle Construction, Inc. of South Hadley, Massachusetts, has been awarded a contract to repair and replace the roof on the historic church. The firm, which brings 25 years of experience that includes historic preservation projects, wood shingle replacement, and work on National Register properties, will work closely with the project’s design team, led by Huff + Gooden Architects.

A construction kickoff event will be held at the site on October 23 at 12:30pm.

“This will be a great day for Clinton Church Restoration,” said Wray Gunn, Sr., board chair of the nonprofit and a former church trustee. “We have worked hard to save this historic landmark in downtown Great Barrington and look forward to seeing it restored in a way that will benefit the community.”

The church’s failing roof has been patched or tarped several times since the organization formed in 2016 to save the National Register property and repurpose it as an African American heritage site and cultural center. Cora Portnoff, a former congregant who also serves on the nonprofit’s board, said the planned center will honor the legacy of the local African American community, in part by “bringing awareness to the largely unknown stories of the people who founded the church and lived around it for years.” 

More than 500 individual donors have contributed to the effort to save and restore the church for adaptive reuse. The project is also being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area; an emergency matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman; and the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

Clinton Church Restoration seeks proposals for interpretive planning and exhibit design services

Clinton Church Restoration has issued a Request for Proposal for Interpretive Planning and Exhibit Design Services for the African American Heritage Site and Cultural Center it is developing at Great Barrington’s historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church. The selected firm will work with the nonprofit and its design team, led by Mario Gooden of Huff + Gooden Architects, to develop a comprehensive interpretive plan for the site, design and develop the center’s exhibits and interpretive elements, and oversee all aspects of fabrication and installation.

“We invite inquiries from experienced interpretive planning and exhibit design firms,” said Beth Carlson, board member and chair of Clinton Church Restoration’s Planning and Interpretation Committee. “This is an exciting opportunity to shape not only the stories we tell at this historic site but the visitor experience.” Carlson noted that the announcement is being sent to a list of recommended firms and that women- and minority-owned firms are encouraged to submit proposals. Interested parties who have not received the announcement may contact the nonprofit by emailing admin [at] clintonchurchrestoration [dot] org.

Dedicated in 1887, the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is distinguished by its connection with Great Barrington native W.E.B. Du Bois, co-founder of the NAACP and one of the country’s most influential scholars and civil rights leaders. The shingle-style church is also significant for its association with the religious and cultural heritage of African Americans in rural New England, and as a distinctive example of 19th-century vernacular church architecture. The church, vacant since 2014, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and part of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail. In 2018, Preservation Massachusetts named it one of Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Places.

Clinton Church Restoration, which purchased the property in 2017, seeks to create a unique site of national significance that interprets the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, celebrates the Berkshires’ rich African American heritage, and honors the history of the church and the work of its first female pastor, the Rev. Esther Dozier. The project is part of a growing movement to preserve African American historic places around the country and recently received planning grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Fund, the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund; and the Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick Trust.

Additional funding for the project is being provided by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area; an emergency, matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman; the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. is seeking sealed Offers from qualified Contractors for Roof Repair and Installation of New Wood Shingles Work for the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington, MA. This is the second round of bidding for this work.

Completed Offers and Bidder’s Qualification Forms must be received in sealed envelopes by 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2019 at Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. c/o Pachano & Vollert Architecture, 314 Main Street, Suite 21, Great Barrington, MA 01230. (No signature required on express mail envelopes.) NOTE: Bid opening will take place at 2:30 p.m. at another location.

Electronic copies of the bid documents are available from the Program Manager by emailing ccole@colecompanyinc.com. All questions should be submitted to the Architect and Program Manager via email: hgarch@huffgooden.com AND ccole@colecompanyinc.com

A pre-bid conference is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 10 a.m. and will be held at the project site: 9 Elm Court, Great Barrington, MA. Potential bidders are strongly encouraged to attend.

The project is being partially funded with grants from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grant Program and the Town of Great Barrington. All work must be performed in accordance with the documents prepared by Huff + Gooden Architects and meet the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Attention is called to the requirements of the National Park Service, Massachusetts Historical Commission, and all other applicable Federal, State, and local agencies including Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity requirements. State Law prohibits discrimination. Small, Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises are encouraged to apply.

Bids shall be evaluated on the basis of price, previous experience with similar types of projects, ability to perform work in a timely manner and references. To be eligible for consideration all grant-funded work must be completed by April 1, 2020.

The selected contractor shall be subject to the approval of the National Park Service and Massachusetts Historical Commission. The owner reserves the right to reject any and all offers, waive informalities and award the contract in the best interest of the owner.

Clinton Church Restoration’s work to preserve the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. The property, which is listed in the State Register of Historic Places, has received an emergency matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman. This project was also funded in part by the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act.

National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund awards $75,000 to Clinton Church Restoration

Grant is part of $25M effort to preserve historically significant places that fully reflect the American story

Great Barrington, MA (July 11, 2019) — Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. is one of 22 sites and organizations dedicated to preserving African American history to receive grant support from National Trust for Historic Preservation’sAfrican American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (Action Fund). As part of the second class of Action Fund grantees, Clinton Church Restoration was awarded $75,000 to continue its efforts to restore and repurpose the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church as an African American heritage site and cultural center.  

“We are honored to receive this grant and be in the company of so many worthy projects,” said Wray Gunn, former church trustee and chair of Clinton Church Restoration. “The Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church embodies the rich history of Black life in Great Barrington, where W.E.B. Du Bois was born and raised. The grant will help us develop detailed plans for a heritage site and cultural center that will share the community’s untold stories and interpret Du Bois’s life and legacy in his hometown.”

The Action Fund is a $25 million multi-year national initiative aimed at uplifting the largely overlooked contributions of African Americans by protecting and restoring African American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans connected to historic sites across the nation. This year’s grantees include the African Meeting House in Boston, the Langston Hughes House in Harlem, and God’s Little Acre, an African burial ground in Newport, Rhode Island.

In his announcement from Center Stage at this year’s Essence Festival last Friday, Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, underscored the importance of this work, noting, “The recipients of this funding shine a light on once lived stories and Black culture, some familiar and some yet untold, that weave together the complex story of American history in the United States.”

Clinton Church Restoration was chosen from a pool of over 462 applications totaling over $40M in requests for support. The community-based nonprofit was formed in 2016 to save the vacant National Register property after it was deconsecrated and put on the market. The group subsequently purchased the historic church, developed its vision for a heritage site and cultural center and commissioned a historic structure report. In January, the award-winning African American firm Huff + Gooden Architects was hired to restore and repurpose the church, which will include a performance space, fellowship hall and visitor center offering interpretive exhibits, tours and programming focused on African American history and the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois. An initial phase of stabilization work is underway with funding from the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and a Great Barrington Community Preservation Act grant.

Funding for this round of Action Fund grants, provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was awarded to key places and organizations that help it achieve its mission of protecting, restoring, and interpreting African American historic sites and uncovering hidden narratives of African Americans and their contribution to the American story. Grants are given across four categories: capacity building, project planning, capital, and programming and interpretation.

For full list of grant award recipients visit https://savingplaces.org/2019-action-fund-grant-recipients.

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The mission of Clinton Church Restoration is to restore and repurpose the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, as a vibrant heritage site and cultural center that interprets the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois in the town where he was born and raised, shares untold stories of the region’s rich African American history and culture, and maintains the 132-year-old former church’s role as a vibrant center of community activity. The historic church is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area African American Heritage Trail, and the 2018 list of Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Properties.

Preserving Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. The property, which is listed in the State Register of Historic Places, has received an emergency matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman. This project was also funded in part by the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a multi-year initiative led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and other partners, working to make an important and lasting contribution to our cultural landscape by elevating the stories and places of African American achievement and activism. savingplaces.org/actionfund

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

Clinton Church Restoration seeks qualified bids for Phase I roof work

Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. is seeking sealed Offers and Bidder’s Qualifications Forms from interested and experienced Contractors for Phase 1A: Roof Repair and Installation of New Wood Shingles Work for the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington, MA.

Submission of completed Offers and Bidder’s Qualification Forms will be received in sealed envelopes until 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at the Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. c/o Pachano & Vollert Architecture, 314 Main Street, Suite 21, Great Barrington, MA 01230. (No signature required on express mail envelopes.) NOTE: Bid opening will take place at 2:30 p.m. at another location.

Electronic copies of the bid documents are available from the Program Manager who can be contacted via email: ccole@colecompanyinc.com. All questions should be submitted to the Architect and Program Manager via email: hgarch@huffgooden.com AND ccole@colecompanyinc.com

A pre-bid conference is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 at 10 a.m. and will be held at the project site; 9 Elm Court, Great Barrington, MA. Potential bidders are strongly encouraged to attend.

The project is being partially funded with grants from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grant Program and the Town of Great Barrington. All work must be performed in accordance with the documents prepared by Huff + Gooden Architects and meet the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Attention is called to the requirements of the National Park Service, Massachusetts Historical Commission and all other applicable Federal, State, and local agencies including Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity requirements. State Law prohibits discrimination. Small, Minority, and Women’s Business Enterprises are encouraged to apply.

Bids shall be evaluated on the basis of price, previous experience with similar types of construction projects, ability to perform work in a timely manner and references. To be eligible for consideration all grant-funded work must be completed by October 30, 2019.

The selected contractor shall be subject to the approval of the National Park Service and Massachusetts Historical Commission. The owner reserves the right to reject any and all offers, waive informalities and award the contract in the best interest of the owner.

Clinton Church Restoration’s work to preserve the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. The property, which is listed in the State Register of Historic Places, has received an emergency matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman. This project was also funded in part by the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act.

Common Ground: A Celebration of Jazz and Jewish Music with Wanda Houston and Paul Green

Benefit Concert for Clinton Church Restoration to be held at Hevreh on June 9

GREAT BARRINGTON (May 16, 2019) — In a benefit concert for Clinton Church Restoration, renowned jazz singer Wanda Houston and clarinetist Paul Green will present a program that fuses jazz and Jewish music and reflects the longstanding fellowship between the African American and Jewish communities. Common Ground: A celebration of Jazz and Jewish music with Wanda Houston and Paul Green will be held on June 9 at 7:00pm at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, located at 270 State Road in Great Barrington.

Wanda Houston

A professional vocalist who has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia, and who sang at Liza Minelli’s wedding, Houston is known and loved for the repertoire of jazz, R&B, blues and standards she performs in and around the Berkshires. She grew up in Chicago, steeped in the music of the church where her mother directed the choir and in the creativity of her father’s theater company.  

Green is a Julliard-trained clarinetist grounded in the classical tradition and an expert and distinguished lecturer on Jewish music. In between classical performances (he will perform at Ozawa Hall on June 8) Green regularly performs klezmer and jazz concerts. Two of his recordings, A Bissel Rhythm (just released) and Two Worlds: Music Coming Together (2015) explore the fusion between the jazz and Jewish idioms with original compositions.

Paul Green

“The history of Black-Jewish relations in the U.S. is complicated, yet the cultures have learned and borrowed from each other,” says Green, who reached out to Clinton Church Restoration last summer to propose the benefit concert. “Jewish songwriters borrowed from jazz and blues to help create the Great American Songbook. Black jazz musicians took the Songbook and created jazz performance masterpieces. I enjoy exploring and uniting these two different worlds and what is born of their common ground of artistic passion and fervor.”

Houston is similarly attuned to the interplay of different types of music. “I love all the music of our lives,” she says. “Show tunes, country, blues, opera, jazz—it’s all related, the way we are all related.” Her longtime collaborator, Robert Kelly, who began studying ragtime, jazz and classical at the age of five and also plays with Green, will accompany the duo on piano.

The musicians are donating their time for the June 9 concert, which will benefit the nonprofit Clinton Church Restoration’s effort to restore and repurpose the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Great Barrington as an African American heritage site, visitor center and community space. The concert is an example of one type of programming the nonprofit hopes to present in the former church once it is restored.

Of the upcoming event, Houston adds, “Together, we reflect the long standing fellowship between the African American and Jewish communities, together we invoke the spirit of that fellowship and together we all work to further and strengthen this worthy goal.”  

Doors for the event will open at 6:30pm and the concert will begin promptly at 7pm. A reception will follow. Suggested donation: $25 per person (more if you can, less if you can’t.) For more information, please email admin@clintonchurchrestoration.org or call 413-329-8748.

Clinton Church Restoration’s work to preserve the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. The property, which is listed in the State Register of Historic Places, has received an emergency matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman. This project was also funded in part by the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act.

Award-Winning Architectural Firm Huff + Gooden Selected for Restoration of Historic Clinton Church

Uniquely qualified team brings decades of experience designing spaces that tell stories of African American heritage

Mario Gooden, architect Clinton Church Restoration
Mario Gooden, Huff + Gooden Architects

GREAT BARRINGTON (January 16, 2019) — Clinton Church Restoration has announced the hiring of Huff + Gooden Architects as the project architect for the restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington. The New York City-based firm, headed by architect Mario Gooden, is one of the few African American architectural firms in the country. Joining Gooden on the design team is historic preservation architect John A. James, architect and historian Mabel O. Wilson of Studio &, and landscape architect Walter J. Hood of Hood Design Studio. Other team members include Silman Associates for structural engineering; Landmark Facilities Group for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering; Berkshire Engineering for civil engineering and Accu-Cost for cost estimating services.

“We are thrilled to engage Huff + Gooden and their esteemed team of architects and engineers,” said Clinton Church Restoration board chair Wray Gunn. “They have outstanding qualifications in the fields of architecture, historic preservation and engineering and they bring decades of experience designing spaces that tell the rich stories of African American heritage.”

John A. James, historic preservation architect, Clinton Church Restoration
John A. James Architect

Clinton Church Restoration, which purchased the historic National Register property in 2017, plans to restore and repurpose it as a heritage site and visitor center dedicated to interpreting the Berkshires rich African American history and the life and legacy of civil rights pioneer and native son W.E.B. Du Bois. A performance space and fellowship hall will provide space for the community to come together to enjoy the arts, partake of educational programming, and learn about civic engagement, activism and social justice. Huff + Gooden was one of the firms responding to the nonprofit’s Request for Proposal for historic preservation, architectural design, and engineering services.

“We conducted a formal, qualifications-based process that included interviews with three excellent design and engineering teams,” said building committee chair Diego Gutierrez. “We were especially impressed with the experience of Mario’s team and their forward-thinking approach to design and process.”

Mabel O. Wilson, historian, architectural design Clinton Church Restoration
Mabel O. Wilson, Studio &

The team has extensive experience working on African American museums, cultural centers, and historic sites, including the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, NYC’s Schomburg Center and Studio Museum in Harlem, African Meeting House on Nantucket, Samuel Harrison House in Pittsfield, the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC and chronicling the history of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Huff + Gooden Architects is a certified Minority-owned Business Enterprise and five of the eight firms comprising the team are African American- and/or women-owned and led.

“The rich and storied history of the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church not only chronicles the presence of African Americans in the Berkshires from the 18th century to the present—their religious practices, cultural practices and their lives—but its history is part of the thread in the formation of American culture, society and life,” said Gooden. “Hence, this is an American story that like many others has largely gone unrecognized for the varied ways African Americans played pivotal roles in key national and international events and made significant contributions to our culture. Blacks in western Massachusetts, as well as the founders of the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church, spent their lives defining the tenets of liberty and democracy, hoping to claim the ‘unalienable rights’ our founding fathers deemed ‘self-evident.’ It’s a privilege and an honor for our team to be entrusted with helping to bring this story to the light of American and architectural history.”

Walter Hood, landscape designer Clinton Church Restoration
Walter Hood, Hood Design Studio

“Not only have these architects worked on distinguished projects dedicated to African American heritage, they have a deep understanding of the significance of these spaces and the cultural issues they embody,” said Dennis Powell, vice chair of the Clinton Church Restoration, and president of the Berkshire Chapter of the NAACP. “It is noteworthy that the Clinton Church’s history as a community institution created by African Americans will continue.”

Gooden, who will serve as the prime consultant and principal in charge, is the lead design architect for the expansion and renovation of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. He is a Professor of Practice at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University and author of Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity, which examines the construction of African American identity and representation through architecture.

After an initial kick off meeting, Gooden and his team will focus on replacement of the building’s leaking roof and repair of related structural damage. Funding for this stabilization work has been secured and is expected to begin this winter.

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This project is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. Additional funding comes from the Citizens of Great Barrington through the Community Preservation Act, and a emergency matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church Named One of Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources

Most Endangered Historic Resources

FROM PRESERVATION MASSACHUSETTS (October 18, 2018) — The Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church has been named one of Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources. Since 1993, this list has been compiled and published by Preservation Massachusetts, the statewide nonprofit historic preservation advocacy organization.

Tucked away at 9 Elm Street in the heart of downtown, the Clinton AME Zion Church in Great Barrington is a distinctive example of 19th century, vernacular, church architecture. Dedicated in 1887, the church served as the spiritual, cultural and political home for the local African American Community for nearly 130 years. It is historically significant for its association with author and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, a Great Barrington native who has been called “the premier architect of the civil rights movement in the United States.” The church is the only extant building associated with his formative years.

When the Clinton AME Zion Church, unused for several years and structurally comprised, was put up for sale in 2016, there was community concern that the building would be lost to demolition and development. In late 2016, the nonprofit group Clinton Church Restoration was formed to save, preserve and repurpose the now deconsecrated church. They rallied to raise funds and purchased the property in 2017. Their vision is to have the site serve as an African American heritage and visitor center that will interpret the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois and tell the story of the church’s 130-year history, its first female pastor and the local African American community.

Given the building’s structural issues and ongoing deterioration, costs are substantial to complete necessary stabilization work as well as move forward with plans for future use. If the stabilization is not completed, an important touchstone of African American history and culture in Massachusetts could be lost.

Jim Igoe, President of Preservation Massachusetts feels strongly about the future of the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church. “This small church has a powerful and important story to tell and has been a center of the African American community for 130 years. The efforts and dedication of Clinton Church Restoration are to be applauded and we look forward to working with them to ensure that this landmark building endures to tell its story and inspire new ones for many generations to come.”

Eugenie Sills of Clinton Church Restoration adds: “Clinton Church Restoration is honored by Preservation Massachusetts’ recognition of the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church as one of the state’s most endangered historic resources. The church, which embodies the spiritual, political and social history of the African American community in and around Great Barrington, was a place of great significance to W.E.B. Du Bois, and this recognition, in the 150th anniversary year of his birth, will go a long way in helping us achieve our goal to save, preserve and repurpose the property.”

The other endangered resources listed in 2018 are: Arlington High School (Arlington), Attleboro Switch Tower (Attleboro), JR Alley Brewery (Mission Hill, Boston), The Pillars & The Columns (Dennis), Calf Pasture Pump House (Dorchester), GAR Hall (Lynn), Historic Stonewalls (Massachusetts), Echo Bridge Railings (Newton/Needham), and Town Hall & Auditorium (New Salem).

The 2018 Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources list will be publicly recognized at the Believe in Preservation event, hosted this year at Nixon Peabody LLP, 100 Summer Street, Boston on November 7th. For more event details, and more information on the Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources Program, visit www.preservationmass.org or call 617-723-3383.

About the ‘Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources’ List

Since 1993, the list of most endangered historic resources has become an effective tool for preservationists to focus statewide attention on the condition of individual historic properties and their importance to communities. Of the more than 220 historic resources designated as endangered since the list’s inception in 1993, 91 have been classified as saved, 31 have been lost while many more are either progressing or continue to face threats.

This year’s list was chosen by a committee from nominations submitted by groups and individuals concerned with local preservation issues throughout the state. Submissions are judged by several criteria, including their historic significance, the extent of the threat and the community’s commitment to preserving the resource.

Founded in 1985, Preservation Massachusetts is the statewide non-profit organization that actively promotes the preservation of historic buildings and landscapes as a positive force for economic development and the retention of community character.

Project Architect Sought for Restoration of Former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church

Great Barrington's historic Clinton ChurchGreat Barrington, Mass. (August 20, 2018) — Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. is seeking proposals for historic preservation, design and engineering services for the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church at 9 Elm Court in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The nonprofit purchased the historic property last year and plans to restore and repurpose it as an African American Heritage Center.

“We invite inquiries from well-qualified preservation architects,” said Diego Gutierrez, board member and building committee chair, noting that the announcement is being sent to a list of recommended firms, and that women- and minority-owned firms are encouraged to submit proposals. Interested parties who have not received the announcement may contact Gutierrez by email at housyarch@outlook.com.

Dedicated in 1887, the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church is significant for its association with civil rights leader and native son W.E.B. Du Bois, and as a distinctive example of 19th-century vernacular church architecture. It also served as the spiritual, cultural and political home of the local African American community for nearly 130 years, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, which was deconsecrated in 2016, has been vacant for several years and suffers from severe water damage.

The historic structure report commissioned by the organization identifies treatment recommendations and an initial phase of work needed to stabilize the building. It includes constructing a new wood shingle roof over the entire structure, improving site and basement drainage and making the church’s basement social hall a usable, code-compliant space. The majority of funds needed for this stabilization phase has been secured from a National Park Service African American Civil Rights grant awarded through Housatonic Heritage, an emergency grant from the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and Community Preservation Act funds from the Town of Great Barrington.

Community Preservation Act Funds Awarded for Restoration of Historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church

Clinton Church RestorationGreat Barrington, Mass. (May 24, 2018) — Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Town of Great Barrington’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) Funds. The recommendation to fund the project was made by the town’s Community Preservation Committee and approved at Town Meeting on May 7. The grant will be used for the first phase of restoration work on the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church, which the nonprofit group plans to repurpose as a performance venue and cultural center.

“We are excited that all of this is coming together and grateful to the voters of Great Barrington for their support of this project,” said Wray Gunn, chair of Clinton Church Restoration, and longtime member of the church. “The interest in saving this historic little church has been overwhelming.”

The historic church, significant for its association with civil rights leader and native son W.E.B. Du Bois, and as a distinctive example of 19th century vernacular church architecture, has been vacant for several years and suffers from severe water damage. An historic structure report completed earlier this year by Clark & Green Architects revealed structural damage caused by a leaking roof and extreme mold and mildew associated with drainage issues in the basement. Treatment recommendations for the first phase of work include constructing of a new wood shingle roof over the entire structure, improving site and basement drainage and raising the building approximately two feet to make the church’s basement social hall usable, code-compliant space.

The CPA funds will be combined with a recent $75,000 emergency grant from the Massachusetts Historic Commission and $389,000 from the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grants Program awarded to Housatonic Heritage for the first phase of work on the project. CPA funds are derived from a surcharge on property tax bills and are used for initiatives related to affordable housing, open space and historic preservation. Competition for funding was high with close to $900 million in requests for this year.

Dedicated in in 1887, the church was the spiritual, cultural and political home of the local African American community for nearly 130 years. It is a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail and was entered into the National Register of Historic Places ten years ago this month.