June 24, 2018
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Belfast cemetery chapel restored, open

By Tom Groening, BDN Staff

BELFAST, Maine — A small chapel built on the city’s Grove Cemetery has been restored to its early 20th century glory, thanks to the efforts of the city, cemetery trustees and the Belfast Garden Club. The chapel is available again for funeral services.

An open house and cemetery tour is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12. Megan Pinette, president of the Belfast Historical Society, will offer tours of the 60 acre Grove Cemetery at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The tours will leave from the chapel, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The small chapel, which is visible from Main Street, was built in 1917, cemetery Superintendent Steve Boguen said. The shingled building, which features stained glass windows and some elements of Victorian architecture, was used for funeral services until the 1940s.

As a city cemetery trustee, Joyce Fenner has overseen the long restoration process. A major step was taken in 2003, she said, when the building was moved off a crumbling, often-flooded basement and put on a concrete slab foundation. A new roof was put on the building, and interior repairs were made.

In all, Boguen estimated, the city has spent about $25,000 on the restoration.

Electric service was extended to the chapel in the spring, and electric baseboard heat was installed. Pews that had been at the Belfast Methodist Church were purchased and installed. Cushions from Belfast’s First Church were reupholstered and cut to fit the pews, with the work donated by Art’s Canvas, Fenner said.

Photos from the turn of the century have been hung inside.

The chapel now seats about 50. The rental fee for a funeral is $150.

Ann Mullen, a member of the Belfast Garden Club, said her group won a $5,000 Golden Rule Foundation grant to build a deck on the front of the chapel to make it easier for people to enter and exit the building.

The garden club also did landscaping work around the chapel, adding at least 25 trees and planting some shrubs, Mullen said. Annual flowers also were planted in pots displayed on the deck and elsewhere.

The garden club is paying all costs of the open house tour, and will donate all funds from the $5 donation for the tours to the town for ongoing maintenance of the chapel.

“This is a very important site, historically, and we are happy to make the contribution to the town,” Mullen said.

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