Huntsville’s historic Madill Church will have to be deconstructed before it is reconstructed.
That from the president of the Madill Church Preservation Society, Carolynn MacKay, who says the long-awaited rebuild will kick into gear next April, after COVID-19 scuttled plans to have it ready in time for the church’s 150th anniversary in May.
She says the roof will be removed, the logs that make up the church’s structure numbered and disassembled, and the foundation repaired. “We’re extending the roof line so that when the water comes off the roof it’s not splashing up onto the lower logs again, so it might last a bit longer than the 150 years they’ve lasted now,” she jokes.
After that, she says it’s a matter of restoring the windows, fixing up the interior, and replacing some of the wallboard as well as the logs that make up the structure of the building.
“There will be some of that replaced, but with the same materials,” says MacKay. “It’ll look exactly the same, and that’s our plan. There were certain things we couldn’t salvage because the mice had built condominiums inside the walls.”
MacKay says most of that work will be done with volunteer labour, as well as local lumber, glass, and masonry experts lending their expertise and donating materials. All in, she says estimates for the project have run between $225,000 and $250,000, with the lesser amount already raised through a combination of community fundraising and grants. Last week, Huntsville General Committee also agreed to waive $2,000 in permit fees for the project.
“We’re just thrilled with the support that the community has given and the town has given, and it’s still ongoing,” says MacKay. “There’s a lot of people who are passionate about that building.”
According to MacKay, they expect to finish the construction by the end of the summer, and hold a grand unveiling in September. She says it will be used for church services and as an event space, adding that two couple are waiting to be married there. Most importantly, she says displays will be set up to educate about the history of the church, as well as the significant people interred in its cemetery.
“It’s of huge importance to the town. It was part of the first settlers that came to the area, and we have Captain George Hunt interred in the cemetery, after whom Huntsville is named,” says MacKay. “There’s just a lot of history there, and there’s so many families still in Huntsville whose [members] are interred there, and it means a lot to them. It’s very important to many, many people.”