NORWAY — Work on the historic Gingerbread House continued this week with the restoration of its two chimneys.

Randy Wells of Wells & Son Masonry of Turner and his assistant, Wade Kibbee, have been working some 40 feet above ground for the past month repointing the two chimneys. A liner will be placed in the eastern-side chimney in the next few weeks, said Wells, who also laid the house foundation and its brick covering.

The work on the chimney comes shortly after the opening of a town-paid pedestrian bridge over Pennesseewassee Stream behind the house. Money for the site work, including parking lot cleaning and plantings, was provided through an anonymous donor, said Andrea Burns of the Norway Downtown.

The 1851 house was moved by James G. Merry Building Movers of Scarborough from its original site behind the Advertiser-Democrat building at Pikes Hill and Main Street to its present location 950 feet up Main Street two years ago.

The Norway Landmarks Preservation Society, doing business as Friends of the Gingerbread House, has been raising money for several years to rehabilitate the 19th-century building.

A 33-page Preservation Plan for the Gingerbread House had been developed by Margaret Gaertner of the firm Barba & Wheelock Architecture in Portland. It includes a three-phase, sequenced plan for preservation and repair of the building.

The Buy A Bundle campaign has raised $7,000 of the $10,000 goal to buy shingles for a new roof, said Joan Beal of the Friends of the Gingerbread House. Although the on-site fundraising activities have wrapped up for the season, Beal said the group will be selling food and craft items at the DECA fair on Nov. 9 at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris.

The brown shingle siding on the house is also being removed.

“Our thoughts were that, with the shingles gone and the clapboards exposed, the community will begin to get an idea of what the house could look like,” Beal said.

Beal said the group hopes to offer tours of the interior for supporters during the coming spring and summer.

“The interior is obviously still very rough, but the possibilities for the house are visible in the many existing details in the interior,” she said.

One of the next big steps will be the repair of the windows. Beal said the plan is to have a group of  volunteers who will be trained by people with expertise at restoring windows.

C’s Inc., a real estate holding company affiliated with Sun Media Group, publishers of the Sun Journal and Advertiser-Democrat, agreed late in 2008 to delay demolition of the building if anyone could figure out a way to move the massive house. A group of volunteers, the Friends of the Gingerbread House, banded together to save the landmark building.

Originally known as the Evans-Cummings House, it has graced the entrance to Norway from the north since 1851. It is more commonly known as the Gingerbread House for its elaborate trim, added in a late-19th-century renovation.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.