WINTERPORT — One entrepreneur is in a race to save a charming antique church from ruin. Katrina Petersen started an ambitious fundraising campaign to turn historic Crooked Steeple Hall, is a fixture of the downtown Winterport, into a wedding and event space, according to a news release.
Crooked Steeple Hall has stood directly across from the Union Meeting House in Winterport since 1850. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic places. The bell in the quintessential New England steeple was cast by Blake and Co., the foundry in Massachusetts originally owned by Paul Revere.
Petersen has started a crowdfunding campaign to save this iconic structure and make it the heart of Winterport life. In Petersen’s vision for the space, Crooked Steeple Hall will host political debates, wedding receptions, fundraisers and more. Town residents and local business owners are behind her, according to the release. Many have contributed their support and sweat equity to the cause.
Petersen has put in hundreds of hours of work herself. Although she grew up in New Jersey, Petersen spent her summers on Lake Annabessacook in Winthrop. She fell in love with the state and went to college at the University of Maine. After moving away, having two children, and surviving a divorce that required her to take out a restraining order, Petersen found love again in the form of a nearly 170 year old building.
She had limited time and limited funds, but the community stepped forward to help her save the steeple. The previous owners worked out a financing plan, community members helped clean out the space, and local business owners donated or discounted services.
“They did it for love of Winterport, and because Petersen’s tenacity is almost impossible to ignore,” the release said.
As a thank you, Petersen has made a community commitment stating that Crooked Steeple Hall will offer free event space to nonprofit organizations.
Now she’s widening the circle of support by starting a crowdfunding campaign and asking for help from the world beyond Winterport. On September 5, Petersen will throw open the doors of Crooked Steeple hall for an Open House. Anyone who books an event during the open house will get special pricing.
The Open House is happening Thursday, September 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Crooked Steeple Hall, 176 Main Street, Winterport, Maine.
This event is free. Register at EventBrite.com.
Crowdfunding Campaign: www.crookedsteeplehall.com/savethesteeple