NORWAY — Restoration of the century-old windows in the historic Gingerbread House on Main Street is underway.

A handful of people led by Pat Shearman of the Norway Landmarks Preservation Society took the first window out May 17. It marked the beginning of restoration efforts for all 65 windows in the large, two-story landmark.

Each window will be restored with its original glass, sills and frame, according to best preservation practices.

Armed with Shearman’s knowledge of historic window restoration from her former contracting business and a book on window restoration by Portland preservationist John Leeke, the group carefully removed the first window from the second floor on the back side of the house.

“It went surprisingly smoothly,” Shearman said. “Getting (the window) out was a little tricky. We’re being really, really careful.”

Removing each section, including the two large pieces of window pane, required patience and steady hands. Each window piece had to be labeled for later reassembly.

The next step will be to soften the glazing and paint in a steam box made by Rob Smith of Norway. A generator will be used to operate the steam box, which is set up inside the house.

“We’re were all totally engrossed in this thing,” Shearman said.

The project is part of a three-stage, multi-year effort by the Norway Landmarks Preservation Society to restore the building. It has been raising money for several years.

The 80- by 20-foot house was built in 1851 by Richard Evans and later bought by Charles Bradley Cummings, founder of the C.B. Cummings & Son dowel mill on Pikes Hill Road, according to a report by Andrea Burns of Norway to Maine Preservation in Portland. Elaborate trim was added in the late 19th century by John Hazen for Cummings.

Robert Sallies and Howard James eventually took ownership of the building while they were publishers of the Advertiser-Democrat, Burns wrote.

In 2008, C’s Inc., a real estate holding company affiliated with Sun Media Group, publishers of the Sun Journal and Advertiser-Democrat, agreed to delay demolition of the house if someone could move it from next to the Advertiser building. A volunteer group known as Friends of the Gingerbread House, who later formed the nonprofit Norway Landmarks Preservation Society, banded together to save it.

In 2011, the house was moved about 950 feet farther up the street near Butters Park. Since then, the roof has been reshingled.

Future workshops are planned throughout the summer and into the early fall. Anyone who would like to volunteer or has questions may contact the society at [email protected]

[email protected]


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