NORWAY — The Norway Landmarks Preservation Society will open the doors of the Gingerbread House to the public next month.
The Open House will take place on July 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Norway Music and Arts Festival.
Members of the Board of Directors are welcoming the public to come see the progress of the ongoing building renovations to the landmark building that is located on Main Street by Butters Park on the western end of the National Register Historic District.
“Yes, we have much to celebrate,” said the Board of Trustees in it announcement of the Open House. “Spring is here and with its bright colors and exterior repairs, the Gingerbread House continues to draw compliments and praise from visitors, passers-by, and supporters.”
In addition to the opportunity the warm weather give to continue its exterior renovations, the Board of Trustees announced there have been several generous donations made that will help extend the Society’s ability to proceed with further renovations.
The parcel of land adjacent to the east of the house, which the board calls “the plateau” has been donated. Trustees say that donation will provide more flexibility to future adaptive use of the house.
Secondly, a $15,000 matching fund has been donated by an anonymous person, that if fully matched, will mean an additional $30,000 to help complete the repair and painting of the remaining windows, turret, exterior stream side and east end of the house.
“The additional good news is that we are more than halfway towards reaching this goal,” the Trustees announced.
Trustees say donations of any level will be matched and that money will help fund the final “sealing of the exterior envelope of the house.”
Additionally, the Society has launched its Corbel Circle project. Donors who pledge $1,000 or more over the next two years will become part of the Gingerbread House Corbel Circle and in return receive a painted replica of a corbel, a distinctive architectural feature on the building. All Corbel Circle donations will also be applied toward the $15,000 match.
The Norway Landmarks Preservation Society (dba Friends of the Gingerbread House) has been raising money for almost 10 years to rehabilitate the 19th-century building after the 88-foot-long building, known historically as the Evans-Cummings House, was moved in June of 2011 950 feet up the street. It was previously located behind the Advertiser Democrat building at the corner of Main Street and Pikes Hill.
Following pressure from a grassroots group of local residents known as the Friends of the Gingerbread House, C’s Inc. which is a real estate holding company affiliated with the Costello family, agreed late in 2008 to delay demolition of the 1851 historic home if the volunteers could successfully figure out a way to move the massive building off site.
In June 2011 James G. Merry Building Movers of Scarborough moved the Gingerbread House slowly up Main Street as hundreds of people gathered on the street cheering it on as the bells of the historic Unitarian Church rang.
The building is now being restored using a 33-page plan developed in 2012 by Margaret Gaertner of the Portland firm of Barba and Wheelock Architects for the rehabilitation of the landmark building.
A bulletin board at the end of the building’s driveway on Main Street displays pictures and information about the building’s history. For easy access to the building, a municipal parking lot is available on Water Street directly behind the Gingerbread House with a connecting footbridge over Pennesseewassee Stream.