Is this the beginning of the end of Snells Bush Church? Can we save the Church again?
It was erected and expanded in 1850 using timbers from the 2nd church (built after the Revolution). When we had the structural and architectural reviews, we knew the foundation needed looking at but kept putting it off as we knew it would be very expensive. We hoped it would be all right with just a little up-keep. Last fall, when we hired a contractor to repaint the church, we asked if the carpenter repairs could be done first as there was a bowing out of the siding. When the work was started this past Tuesday, and the siding was pulled out near the base of the north side of the church, a major problem was found. The beam (sill) which sits on the limestone base was totally rotted. There was a trap door cut in the floor and the contractor went under the church to inspect the other sills and the front of the church is also bad. The South side and West end appear fine. There are some cross pieces in the north side that will need repair also. The space under the church is about 30 inches below the floor – a crawl space. As far as we know there had never been a trap door to access below the church.
We need to get contractors that do building restoration to come and give us estimates on the repair. Brandt, (our vice-president ) has called some. This takes time. Our funds for care of the church are low, with only about $20,000. The painting contractor has agreed to tear up the painting contract. We had one window at the repair shop and must pay the balance on that but of course that project will be placed on hold. That contract was one window at a time as we had funds. Money that was donated for the window project will be saved for that project.
Grant options are being researched. As we have mentioned before, many grants must have matching amounts raised before the money is given. The New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites has grants of maximum $10,000. (We received a $1000 grant from them October 2005 for a conditions survey.) We have an application from them and were planning on requesting funds for the window repair project. With having the Snells Bush Church on the National and New York State Historic Site Registry, there may be some chance of grant money. New York State Historic Preservation will send us information on what they have available – but this will take time. Herkimer and Oneida County has a Community Foundation that has helped some areas with preservation and community projects – we do not know if Snells Bush Church would be eligible or not. All options will be researched. The extended SZT family has, up until now, taken care of the church through member donations. We will contact our state representatives and see what we can do to save the Snells Bush Church.
Every dollar helps. Please make donations payable to SZT Reunion, mail to Treasurer, SZT Reunion, Inc. P.O. Box 623, Little Falls, NY 13365.