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Revive the River Meeting House/Oak Grove Chapel
$420 raised
2% of $25k goal
4 contributors
106 Weeks running

Hi. We are the Friends of the River Meeting House/Oak Grove Chapel. The historic building is owned by the Oak Grove Foundation and this is a separate group to raise money specifically to bring this beautiful, unique structure back up to code, so we may host events there, once again.

Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and located in Vassalboro, Maine, the River Meeting House that is known today as the Oak Grove Chapel, was constructed in 1786.
William H. Douglas designed the building as a meeting place for the Quakers (Society of Friends) in the area who settled here mostly from Nantucket after 1763. The original structure was a simple post and bea m building with amazing engineering in the rafters to support a clear span for the auditorium type area. It was renovated in 1895 into a shingle style building popular in that time period.

The original Meeting House is enclosed within the renovation. It is the only building on Ephraim Ballard's map of the early 1790's. Since Maine was a Province of Massachusetts at the time, the original map is held at the Massachusetts Archives. The building is in very good condition and could be one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Kennebec County or the State of Maine.

In 2009 it was brought to light that the Oak Grove School Foundation, which has the oversight of this property, was discussing the fate of this historic building. Some of the members wanted to sell it, give it away, tear it down or even burn it down and be done with it. The plight of its existence was hanging in jeopardy.

At an Oak Grove Alumni Reunion held in the Fall of that year, concern was expressed about the future of the Oak Grove Chapel, as it was linked to the Oak Grove School for Girls, which was located across the road. The Tudor style school building is now owned by the Criminal Justice Academy of the State of Maine. Daphne Wright, an Oak Grove graduate and national nonprofit consultant, offered to lead a group to identify the opportunities surrounding the future of the Chapel. This group's mission and Only Mission at that time was to see what opportunities were available for preserving the Chapel.

After many months of discussion, contacting preservation groups, local and state officials, and numerous other entities, the only thing left to do was to offer our positive findings to the Oak Grove Foundation along with a proposal for keeping the Chapel. On April 11, 2011 a letter was sent to the Joan Austin, Chairman of the Foundation. As emotions were running very high, it was very difficult to wait for a reply.

On May 17, 2011, an acknowledgement was received from the Foundation that the proposal had been accepted. We have fulfilled our mission and the next stage for preserving the Chapel was to begin.

The Friends of the River Meeting House/Oak Grove Chapel is currently a non-profit organizatio with 501-C3 status.

This is to launch our inaugural Annual Fund Campaign, to provide much needed funds to continue repairs to the Chapel. 

Won't you join us? Thank you!

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