GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Clinton Church Restoration has hired a local architectural firm to prepare a historic structure report for the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Great Barrington.
Clark & Green Architects is one of five firms that responded to a request for proposal issued by CCR, the nonprofit that recently purchased the Elm Court property from the North Eastern Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Zion Conference.
The historic structure report (HSR) is a key step on the path to restoring the 130-year-old, deconsecrated church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.
Comprised of two parts, the HSR will provide a detailed assessment of the physical condition of the building, recommendations for immediate actions needed to stabilize the building, and a catalogue of specific elements of architectural or historic value. It will also include an analysis documenting the historic, cultural and architectural importance of the property. Crucial to defining the project's architectural scope of work, the report will guide construction work on the building and site and will be integral to the organization’s fundraising.
Architect Diego Gutierrez, who chairs CCR's building committee, managed the selection process.
"We welcome Clark & Green to the team that is bringing this wonderful and important historic building in Great Barrington to life," Gutierrez said. "Their sensitivity, expertise and commitment to the project are greatly appreciated."
Steve McAlister, senior architect and project manager at Clark & Green, noted that an HSR typically reveals many interesting facets of a building's history.
"Clark & Green is delighted to take part in this great community endeavor to preserve the cultural and spiritual legacy of the Clinton Church, and to help spread the story of Berkshire County's contributions to African-American culture and history," he said.
Prior to its closing in 2014, the former church was the spiritual, political and cultural hub for the local African American community. It was also a place of significance to W.E.B. Du Bois, who was born and raised in Great Barrington. The CCR initiative, chaired by longtime Clinton Church congregant Wray Gunn, is part of a growing movement around the country to preserve and honor African American historic places.
Donations to the Clinton Church Restoration fund may be made online, or by check made payable to Housatonic Heritage (with "Clinton Church Restoration" in the memo line) and sent to P.O. Box 611, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Online donations may be made on the website. Anyone interested in volunteering on the project should send an email.
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