Community Foundation grant supports relocation, restoration of historic Lisbon church

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From left: St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum Trustees Gilbert Rivers, Kirke W. Perry, Lee W. Dezell, Roger S. Austin, and Robert J. Marshall gather on the new foundation for the historic Nevin Memorial Church on the museum’s village green. (NNYCF)

MADRID, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Northern New York Community Foundation is awarding a $10,000 grant to the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid to support the relocation and restoration of the historic 1855 Nevin Memorial Church that originally called Lisbon home.

The church closed its doors in December 2019 after 164 years. Church trustees offered the building and its contents to the museum. The structure was donated to the museum in November 2020 and museum officials moved the structure to the museum’s main campus in Madrid in February.

The museum plans to feature historic exhibits in the church and add it to campus tours. The structure features 12 stained glass windows created by the renowned Horwood family of stained glass artists from Ogdensburg. Each window is being restored in preparation for re-installation. The museum also plans to offer the church as a venue for weddings, memorial services and other events.

“The museum is one of our region’s gems. Our holistic partnership has helped enhance the museum’s work and mission now, and will sustain it for future generations,” Community Foundation Executive Director Rande Richardson said. “We are pleased to be part of this project, which will be a meaningful complement to its current offerings for those who visit.”

Since 1983, the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum has aimed to preserve and teach the history of how early North Country residents lived and the way technology and equipment helped shape their lives. The museum houses a collection of hundreds of artifacts and approximately 30 historical buildings, including a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, two-story granary, gas station, log cabin, steam engines and more.

Ronald E. Sheppard, president of the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum Board of Trustees, said Community Foundation support “is an invaluable addition to our efforts as we build out this significant and impressive contribution to our campus.”

“This will enhance a strong sense of community involvement and pride, foster historical preservation, and promote economic development in our rural corner of the county,” Mr. Sheppard said. “Thanks to generous supporters like the Community Foundation, the museum continues to grow its endowment and develop exciting plans for the future.”

The St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum and Northern New York Community Foundation have worked together as partners for nearly a decade. Soon after NNYCF expanded its service area to include St. Lawrence County, the museum was one of the first nonprofits in the county to establish a partnership with the foundation with a permanent endowment fund. In 2017, the museum successfully fulfilled a matching grant challenge for its endowment that is stewarded at the Northern New York Community Foundation.

NNYCF now partners with more than 50 nonprofit organizations serving St. Lawrence County residents.

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