May 24, 2022

Centerbrook Meeting House Wins Essex Historical Society Preservation Award

Centerbrook Meeting House, the winner of 2nd Annual Preservation Award of Essex Historical Society

The Centerbrook Meeting House, located on Main Street in Centerbrook , has received the 2nd Annual Preservation Award from the Essex Historical Society . The award was presented on June 25 to two private benefactors who with their own private funds restored the historic structure, which was originally built in 1722.

Presentation of Preservation Award (l to r): Norman Needleman, Mark Pratt, Chris Pagliuco and Herb Clark (Photo by Mary Ann Pleva)

Recipients of the Society’s 2nd Annual Preservation Award were the two benefactors, Norman Needleman and Herb Clark of Essex. Needleman also serves as First Selectman of Essex, and Clark is the owner of many properties in the Town of Essex.

The presentation of the award was a part of a “Strawberry Social” at the Society headquarters at the Pratt House on West Avenue.  In addition to a picnic on the grounds, in the formal part of the program Essex Historical Society President Mark Pratt thanked the Society’s board and its volunteers.  President Pratt also said that a professional adviser is now assisting the Society in structuring a fund raising program.

Attentive audience for remarks by Society President Mark Pratt (Photo by Mary Ann Pleva)

Also, on the formal part of the program were remarks by the Essex Town Historian, Chris Pagliucoi.  Pagliucoi said, in the course of his remarks, that tasteful preservation of items of the past requires both “an eye on the past, as well as an eye on the future.”

Walking Tour Proceeded Formal Meeting

Prior to the Preservation Award ceremony and the “Strawberry Social,” Essex Historical Society Vice President Susan Malan led a 4:30 p.m. walking tour of some of the historic landmarks of Essex.  Included in the tour were the site of an old blacksmith’s shop on West Avenue, a number of churches on Prospect Street, as well as the former town hall, firehouse and elementary school.

Members of the Shortcake Preparation subcommittee: (l to r) Barbara Hughes, Mary Pleva, Celia Francis, Ellie Champion (Photo by Subcommittee member, Charlotte Walters)

The former elementary school is now owned by the Roman Catholic  Church on Prospect Street, and preservationists  in town are fearful that it might be torn down, its historic significance notwithstanding.

Malan’s walking tour ended where it began, at an 1833 Greek revival style structure on West Avenue, which was once the home of Hills Academy, and which now houses the headquarters of the Essex Historical Society.

(Coverage for this event was provided by Mary Ann Pleva of Essex.)