2014-03-28 / Front Page

New footing for old homes

Arundel’s North Chapel Common Project making progress
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL – A handful of board members from the Arundel Historical Society stood in the cold on Wednesday, March 19 to watch as the Burnham House, the second building in the North Chapel Common Project, was slid onto its foundation on Limerick Road.

Securing the Lunt farmhouse and the Burnham farmhouses onto their new foundations is a major step in a project that began nearly five years ago, said Arundel Historical Society Director Dana Peck.

Both 18th-century farmhouses were donated to the historical society and had to be moved by truck to the parcel at the junction of Alfred and Limerick roads.

The final project will ultimately consist of three buildings.

“The project site plan has the Burnham House, the Lunt farmhouse and a replica of the North Chapel meetinghouse,” which will be built in the future, said Arundel Historical Society President Jake Hawkins.


Ken Watson of Poirier Building Movers in Saco, waits for the go-ahead to remove chains from the intersecting beams under the Arundel Historical Society’s Burnham House on Wednesday, March 19. Watson and his crew successfully slid the 18th-century farmhouse across the beams and onto its foundation. At left, Arundel Historical Society board members from left, Jake Hawkins, Donna der Kinderen, Dana Peck and Paul Poirier of Poirier Building Movers, survey the foundation of the Burnham House after it was moved onto its foundation. The house, built in 1795, is one of two houses that were donated to the historical society for the North Chapel Common Project. (Alex Acquisto photos) Ken Watson of Poirier Building Movers in Saco, waits for the go-ahead to remove chains from the intersecting beams under the Arundel Historical Society’s Burnham House on Wednesday, March 19. Watson and his crew successfully slid the 18th-century farmhouse across the beams and onto its foundation. At left, Arundel Historical Society board members from left, Jake Hawkins, Donna der Kinderen, Dana Peck and Paul Poirier of Poirier Building Movers, survey the foundation of the Burnham House after it was moved onto its foundation. The house, built in 1795, is one of two houses that were donated to the historical society for the North Chapel Common Project. (Alex Acquisto photos) The Lunt farmhouse, the smaller of the two, was built in 1790 by Samuel Lunt, husband of resident Elizabeth McIntire. Members of the Lunt family lived in the house until 2003, when Dorothy Lunt Paquet died.

The Burnham House was built in 1795 by Nathaniel Currier, father of Edmund Currier.


The Lunt House (1790) and the Burnham House (1795), both owned by the Arundel Historical Society, were secured in to their new foundations on a parcel of land near the junction of Alfred and Limerick roads Wednesday, March 19. Both houses, and an additional meeting house that will be constructed at a later date, make up the North Chapel Common Project. 
(Alex Acquisto photo) The Lunt House (1790) and the Burnham House (1795), both owned by the Arundel Historical Society, were secured in to their new foundations on a parcel of land near the junction of Alfred and Limerick roads Wednesday, March 19. Both houses, and an additional meeting house that will be constructed at a later date, make up the North Chapel Common Project. (Alex Acquisto photo) The younger Currier was postmaster for Arundel from 1833 until 1870 and the Burnham House was the post office. Like the Lunt House, the Burnham House was also owned by family members for more than 200 years. It was sold in 2001.

Once restored, the Lunt House, which is located at the front of the lot, will serve as headquarters for the historical society. It will also act as a meeting place for town functions and a place to house archival information.

“The buildings will be arranged in an ellipse with trees, gardens, walkways, etc. We were able to get some old photos of the original building so we can pull off the details of that building,” Hawkins said.

The Burnham House will serve as more of a museum and a primary source to Arundel’s past. It will be remodeled, and each room will be decorated to fit the theme of a different decade in which the house existed.

In order to accomplish the significant task, the historical society will seek input and help from the Maine Historical Society, Peck said.

“The project is threefold as I see it,” Hawkins said. “Obviously, historical: sharing the rural past of Arundel by having a museum to show future generations how people lived, worked, and played in this town.

“By virtue of having a repository of photos, records, oral histories, and writings we achieve an educational purpose. And finally with the rebuilding of the North Chapel meetinghouse: a community gathering place for suppers, cultural events, community groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other organizations to meet.”

Hawkins said the meetinghouse will provide a community oriented blend of the past and the future.

“I like to refer to it as a 21st century grange hall in an 18th-century building,” Hawkins said. “Presently there is only the option of one school gym and one meeting place.

“This meetinghouse will serve a far wider range of needs, for the town. Part of our mission statement and what we have tried to do is to build community. We think that this is one way to get us to that goal.”

From manual labor, to planning, to donating the concrete for the foundation of the two buildings, residents have shown their support.

“We’ve done everything just to get to this point,” Peck said. “Now we have something people can see to say, ‘I was a part of that.’”

Said Treasurer Donna der Kinderen, “The town has been incredibly supportive. Hundreds are involved even though they don’t know they are.”

Outlying funds to subsidize the restoration and construction will be raised through the historical society.

The remaining portions of the project will be accomplished in phases, and will likely take another five years, Peck said.

According to the historical society’s website, “The second phase will include the construction of the new building to be used as a community focal point, providing an area for parking and landscaping around all of the buildings.”

Restoration of the two existing buildings will be the third phase of the prodigious project.

Once completed, the North Chapel Common, just as it did historically, will cultivate and help bind the commu- nity of Arundel.

“It’s like the ‘Field of Dreams,’” Peck said. “If you build it, they will come.”

For more information on the North Chapel Common Project, visit www.arundelhistoricalsociety.org.

Want to comment on this story? Visit our website at www.post.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

Return to top