chalice with rainbow flame
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County

Report of the Building Committee

delivered by Rev. Edward Hale, at the dedication of the chapel, Wednesday, May 10, 1893
(as found in articles "Dedication of the First Unitarian Church," Orange Chronicle, May 13, 1893, and "Unitarian Church Dedication," Orange Journal, May 11, 1893)

On April 29th, 1892, at a meeting of the members of this church, called to consider ways and means for building a church edifice, a finance committee and a building committee were appointed. The building committee early received a most generous offer from Edward D.Lindsey, of New York, to furnish the necessary plans. The offer was gratefully accepted, and Mr. Lindsey soon sent attractive preliminary sketches, acceptable to both the committee and all in the congregation who saw them. Mr. Lindsey was proceeding to make the necessary working drawings when he was interrupted by additional business cares unexpectedly thrown upon him and by severe illness in his household. After waiting some time,Mr.Lindsey and the committee with much reluctance decided that it was better not to delay longer, but to proceed with assistance from some other quarters, Mr. Lindsey offering in the same generous spirit which had prompted his original offer, to allow the committee to make any use they would of his preliminary sketches.

The committee, however, thought it more just both to Mr. Lindsey and to those who should undertake the work, to ask them to begin from the beginning, following their own design. Thorp & Knowles, of New York, were accordingly asked to submit plans. A picturesque and most appropriate design was submitted and approved; but when the working drawings were made and estimates obtained, the lowest proved far beyond what had been expected, and beyond the means of the Society. The architects suggested various modifications, but the cost, it was found, could be sufficiently lowered only by giving up features which were considered essential. These plans, again, were therefore reluctantly abandoned.

So much time had now passed that the committee, rather than delay further, prepared rough sketches of their own from which the building has been erected which we occupy to-night. The Society voted to accept these plans on November 6th, 1892, and on the next cday, November 7th the first sod was turned.

With but little interruption the work has since then gone steadily on, and last Sunday, six months to a day from the breaking ground, we occupied the chapel for the first time.

The committee take this opportunity to express their grateful appreciation of the interest and sympathy with which all connected with the work have entered into it. To the contractors, especially Geach & Colt, their thanks are due, not merely for their unflagging patience, care and attention, but for constant andmost helpful suggestions without which the building would be far less satisfactory than it is now found. The masons, Jacobus & Harrison; the plumber, George H. Werner; the painter, Levi B. Sanders, all have shown a like interest and care and all the workmen have been faithful, working on the building through some of those severe days in the winter when almost all other building was at a standstill.

The committee also would express their appreciation of the generous courtesy of Edwin J. Lewis, Jr., of Boston, who gave them the design and detailed drawing for the roof trusses. It is proper that we should add that each of the master builders has made a special gift to the church, in furnishing or workmanship, in further token of their interest.

The original estimate was $4,500. The dormers and other features were added, and the final contract was for $4,850. The building has been completed within this contract, adding only $30.00 for electric wiring and $25.00 for wainscoting in vestry and vestibule and the amount paid for earlier plans, making a totalof $5,030.

The furnishing and grading will have cost nearly a thousand more, not including the gifts made to us by friends here and at a distance. All bills have either been paid or are provided for.

And now we deliver to you, for the church, these keys. Not everything as we would wish, as necessity for economy limited us. The committee ask from you in the future the same consideration and sympathy shown them throughout.