National Trust for Historic Preservation Grant Goes to Janes United Methodist Church

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Chestertown, MD  – The National Trust for Historic Preservation approved a matching grant in the amount of $25,000 under the Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund for the Eastern Shore of Maryland, for Janes United Methodist Church in Chestertown, Maryland in 2016, which has been extended through 2017.

“Organizations like Janes United Methodist Church help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We were honored to provide this grant, and an extension, to Janes United Methodist Church, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage.”

The overall project, funded in part under this grant, involves replacement of the roof and related work for this vital historic building that was constructed on a main street in downtown Chestertown by community members in 1914.

As a direct result of provision of this grant funding, and other sources, architectural services are in progress, with bid specifications and drawings continuing in development by the Project Architect, Peter Newlin, FAIA, of Chesapeake Architects, and in coordination with Jay Yerkes, President, Yerkes Construction Company.

The Church is seeking additional funding to avoid the increased cost of phasing the work.  This Bartus Trew grant will help the Church preserve this important historic structure by providing a watertight roof that is anticipated to last at least fifty years.  Additional funds will be needed for restoration of windows, and for masonry repairs to the Church’s rare sand-lime bricks.

For the past three years, the Church, and the Friends of Janes, a community–church partnership, have been raising funds through a community-based effort, and through other grant applications.  In 2014, the Maryland Historical Trust set aside $95,000 in African American Heritage funds, but the new roof, if genuine slate, is expected to cost $280,000.  The Church has applied for a second Heritage grant, which is under consideration for award.

The project’s architect, Peter Newlin, also a member of Friends of Janes, says, “The Church’s wood windows have deteriorated considerably since the original scope of work was put together in 2013.”  The Construction Manager, Jay Yerkes, and a member of Friends, estimated that “It will take at least $ 1,500 each to restore these historic windows properly, if the Heritage grant is approved.” Larry Samuels, also a Friend of Janes, who tracks the funds for the project, says, “If our community responds as it has previously, the Church will receive many small contributions, and enough large ones, to at least replace the roof.”

Janes United Methodist Church – Close-up of Slate Tile Roof

Ralph Deaton, Chair of the Church’s Finance and Building Committees, says, “Church leaders and their Friends will now have to raise at least $15,000 in matching funds for the project.” Anyone interested in helping can contact Ralph Deaton by telephone, 410-778-4154.  

Janes United Methodist Church – Close-up of Windows and Masonry

Matching grants from the National Trust Preservation Fund are awarded to non-profit organizations and public agencies across the country to support wide-ranging activities, including consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism in conjunction with promoting historic resources, and the development of materials for education and outreach.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded non-profit organization that works to save America’s historic places, to enrich our future. The National Trust is committed to protecting America’s rich cultural legacy, and to help build vibrant, sustainable communities that reflect our nation’s diversity. Follow us on Twitter@savingplaces.

For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Fund grants, visit their website. 

Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck

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