All spring and summer 2015, Coastal Electric has been busy at Newport Congregational Church, updating all wiring and fire safety systems. The Church and Parish Hall were electrified in 1907; the facility had not been systemically rewired since then.
Soon the rewiring work will be completed and the church itself will be ready for the substantive work of restoring the John La Farge murals and windows inside the sanctuary, the raison d’etre of the Fund to shepherd the renaissance of La Farge’s masterpiece.
We are sharing a few photos showing the electrical upgrade work. The first photo shows the old lights and the new fixtures over the Spring St. doorways, swapped out to create a softer and more welcoming illumination.
In the photo showing the new, smaller black light, you’ll see a vertical strip of tape. The electricians had to remove a wooden slat to reach the old wires and install the new. Dorienne Farzan of the La Farge Restoration Fund Board inspected one of the removed pieces of wood and found one small spot of paint—enough of a sample to see the original paint color of the door! (Look for the repainting of these doors as the Fund’s 2015 end of year project!)
We also have a photo of the spools of wire which will run from the street into the church, carrying 600 amps, up from the original 100 amps the properties had for years. So no more blowing a fuse by just turning one light on! Our man John from Coastal is on the left.
Finally, at the Fund’s request and at our expense, the local power company National Grid is installing a new power pole on Pelham Street to handle the new lines and the new power. In the first photo the new pole is being set in place while the old one is being held next to it. In the last pictures, one of the workers is bolting the two together so that another crew can come later to transfer the boxes and lines from the one to the other.
We are, figuratively speaking, holding our breath for this project to be completed! Next will be the installation of period-appropriate lighting fixtures….
Andy Long and Karen LaFrance