Today was another milestone in the restoration of the Abyssinian Meetinghouse on the southern side of the Hill. Leonard Cummings, president of the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian and David Paul, its treasurer, issued the good news jointly: the Committee has received an additional $50,000 from the 1772 Foundation, Connecticut, to restore the exterior walls of the historic building. That work will not begin, however, until the replacement of the roof has been completed. The joint statement was made this morning at a press conference at the Newbury Street location.
According to Paul, who grew up on the Hill, the Foundation has already contributed $150,000 over the last 3 years to the restoration of the Meetinghouse. However, much more is needed to complete the project. Thanks to the National Trust for Historic Restoration, Boston, “we have been linked to about 30 other historic African-American sites in the United States. Soon, we can all go on a Google tour through the northeast,” Cummings said.
Arron Sturgis, owner of Preservation Timber Framing, Berwick, said that his company’s restoration work has demonstrated that the buiding was constructed by extremely talented craftsmen. It’s also an extremely sturdy building having survived fires and exposure to all kinds of weather.”
Cummings said that the Abyssinian is being rebuilt by federal, state and city funds so that it belongs to the entire community. His vision is that concerts, lectures, performances and academic pursuits be headquartered at the Meetinghouse when it’s completed. “It’s unique because we are a minority program,” Cummings said.