ARUNDEL, Maine — Members of the Arundel Historical Society watched on in excitement last week as a phase of the North Chapel Common project was completed.
On March 19, two historic farmhouses were moved onto their new foundations as part of the North Chapel Common project on Limerick Road. They will be refurbished and restored to serve as a headquarters for the historical society as well as serve as a place to archive and display local historical photographs, documents and artifacts. Also, as part of the project, a community building is planned to be constructed.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to have a lot of things going on,” said Arundel Historical Society board member Donna deKinderen.
The Burnham and Lunt farmhouses were built in 1795 and 1798 respectively and were donated to the Arundel Historical Society and relocated to Limerick Road in February 2012. Until now, they have been placed on wood pilings awaiting relocation to their permanent foundations.
The Burnham house was placed on its foundation last Wednesday, while the Lunt house was previously moved into its spot. The concrete for the foundations was given by an anonymous donor, Arundel Historical Society board member Jake Hawkins said, while excavation work was donated by a local contractor. Poirier Inc. Building Movers of Saco worked to move the houses onto their foundations.
Among the oldest farmhouses still standing in Arundel, the Burnham and Lunt farmhouses were built within a mile of each other on Alfred Road. The North Chapel Church, on Limerick Road, was visible from both houses, Hawkins said. Both served as family homes until the early 2000s, and in addition, the Burnham farmhouse served as Arundel’s post office from 1833 to 1870.
With the houses in place, the next phase of the project is construction of an additional building — to be modeled after the North Chapel Church, which formerly stood in the area — that will serve as a meeting and community space, followed by restoration of the Lunt and Burnham farmhouses, said Hawkins.
“It will look like an old New England meeting house,” Hawkins said. “It’s a modern day Grange hall.”
The Arundel Historical Society has been and will continue fundraising to complete the North Chapel Common project, including an upcoming baked bean and pasta supper that will be held on April 12 at Mildred L. Day School. For information and ways to support the project, visit www.arundelhistoricalsociety.org.
“The community has been really supportive,” Hawkins said.