With Restoration Complete, Chapel of the Pines Reopens It’s Doors

EASTHAM – The restoration to the Chapel in the Pines is officially over, allowing the building, built in the late 19th century, to reopen to the public.

The project began about five years ago when the roof began to leak. Nauset Fellowship President Bob Seay noted then that aside from roofing completed in the 1980’s, the Chapel hadn’t seen any improvements since it was built in 1889.

Seay says that the roof leak triggered his ambition to fully restore the building. He says that he read about the Community Preservation Act and found that churches fit the application requirements.

“So, when I went to the first meeting of the Community Preservation Act Committee, I brought along with me a photograph of the Chapel from about 1890 when it was first built. When they looked at it, they said, ‘Wow. We would like it to look like that.’ So, I said ‘that’s a lot more than just an asphalt shingle roof, that’s a whole wooden shingle roof with Victorian trim. They said if they were going to spend historic restoration money, that’s the way they wanted to spend it,” Seay explained.

The Community Preservation Committee secured $305,000 of historic preservation funds from the town to contribute to the $400,000 project. The remaining $95,000 was raised through community fundraising.

The committee had also found that constructing a new handicap bathroom and handicap access to the building, as well as renovating the kitchen were also covered under the act, making the 128-year-old building ADA compliant.

“It started from a rather small project to a much larger one because the Community Preservation Act also covers handicap access, which we did really not have, and also an upgrade of our kitchen so now we can have dinners and people who use the facility can use the kitchen as well, and a brand new handicap bathroom,” said Seay.

“Without the Act we couldn’t have raised the money that was needed to do this addition, so we’re very fortunate in terms of the timing and the opportunity to get the money.”

The Chapel has also recently added onto its historic significance. In September, the Chapel held the wedding of the great-great-great granddaughter of Captain Edward Penniman, a historic whaling captain known for building a modern, and unusual, home on Fort Hill upon his retirement. Penniman also was involved in the construction of the Chapel of the Pines in 1889.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center

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