The Methuen Festival of Trees has awarded a matching grant of $18,750.00 to the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Inc. to assist in their preservation efforts of this famed historical building. The Music Hall had been experiencing water damage on the interior wall of the east transept. A report provided by its structural engineer concluded that the copper flashing at the northeast valley of the roof and the stone construction and masonry at the tops of the transept gables were in desperate need of repair in order to keep the integrity of this monumental structure. Seeing the importance of this project, the Music Hall Board of Trustees submitted a proposal to the Festival of Trees to be considered for its Historic Preservation Grant to help fund this timely repair project.
“Our goal has always been to be a catalyst for historic preservation in our community,” said Ann Guastaferro, president of the Methuen Festival of Trees. “We are thrilled to be able to assist in preserving such an important historical building as the Methuen Memorial Music Hall.”
The restoration project is nearing completion at a cost of $37,500. The restoration elements of the Music Hall project included the following:
- Repair of the flashing on both sides of the east transept gable at the junctions with the slate roof.
- Repointing failed mortar joints of the brick on the back side of the gable wall and the sandstone trim elements.
- Repairing the sandstone corners on the backside of the parapet wall.
- Cleaning all sandstone bands, caps and window trim on the front gable wall.
“We are very appreciative of the contribution made by the Festival of Trees toward the total cost of our recent east transept repair and restoration project. Both of our organizations aspire to be good stewards of Methuen’s heritage,” said Ed Sampson, President of the Music Hall’s Board of Trustees. “The repair project was undertaken to correct a long-standing problem of water infiltration at the roofing slates, valley flashing, and deterioration of brick and sandstone trim masonry joints. We thank the Festival of Trees for helping us to ensure the integrity of the building, and to preserve this legacy of Edward F. Searles for future generations.”
The hall, initially named Serlo Organ Hall, was built by Searles to house the “Great Organ”, an 1863 instrument that had been built in Germany for the Boston Music Hall, and at the time was believed to be the largest pipe organ in the United States. He purchased it at auction in 1897 for $1,500 and began construction of the Music Hall, designed by the noted church architect Henry Vaughan, which was
completed in 1909.