Exeter Meeting is a treasured historic building in the Oley Valley.
This Meeting House was built in 1759 to replace an older Meeting House that the congregation had outgrown.
On March 20th 2011 the building was severely damaged by a fire.
The members and attenders of the meeting have responded in very positive ways to this incident and are working every week to do some repairs. The insurance company has been responsive and helpful.
There have been heart warming expressions of support and offers to help from the surrounding community. The Friends of Exeter Meeting are very grateful for the support.
The Meeting for Worship had just ended when noises were heard in the attic. A Friend went outside to investigate and found the roof on fire. The people were advised to leave at once. Many fire companies responded to the call for help.
The Friends present that day carried books and furniture out of the burning building until the fire companies arrived.
No one was injured and the building was not completely destroyed.
The three photographs of the fire above were contributed by Henry Beck of the Pottstown Worship Group. He was attending Meeting for Worship on the day of the fire.
These two photographs were taken the same day. Water flowing out of the building made it clear that moisture might do as much damage as the fire had done.
The building was sealed and dehumidifiers and fans were deployed inside. The buckets under the windows and water discharge were monitored by a member of the meeting who lives nearby.
The responding fire companies had spread plastic sheeting over the floors and benches. It is expected that these things will survive to be in the restored building.
The members of Exeter Meeting are aware that most people think that this meeting house is an historic building that is part of the Daniel Boone Homestead. It is in fact a living meeting and beloved place of worship with a growing membership.
More can be learned about Quakers in this area by checking the Caln Quarterly Meeting website: www.calnqm.org. Click on the word Exeter near the top of the site and you will see a picture of the meeting house before the fire. It was taken by Nancy Heath.
There is contact information there for people who want to to know more about Exeter.
The restoration is complete!
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Howard Stoltzfus has said that he is very glad to have the opportunity to do the restoration.
On the bright Monday after Mother's Day buttercups and flowering dogwood trees seem to bring hope and cheer to the scene. The damaged Meeting House is still beautiful. The actual restoration will begin soon.
Much of the maintenance of any Friends Meeting House is done by capable volunteers. The lawn and grounds at Exeter Meeting are being attended to regularly. Members and Attenders are constantly visiting to check the property as they would visit a Friend in the hospital.
The restoration will be done by professionals who have experience in restoring historic buildings and know the kind of construction techniques that are needed. Old buildings like Exeter Meeting are not built like 21st Century buildings. Even the inner structure of the meeting house has historic value.
The insurance company has assured the Friends of Exeter Meeting that the building will look just like it had before the fire.
Work has begun on the restoration of the meeting house. Howard Stoltzfus was selected by the Meeting as the best contractor for the job. His bid was very thorough and detailed in the estimates of cost and time to do the job. His price was considered fair and reasonable.
The work has begun and the pictures shown below with the scaffolding and tent were taken on June 11, 2011.
The tent was rented so that Exeter Friends can meet for worship at the site of the Meeting House.
Howard Stoltzfus has no website to which OHA can link.
The plaque at the entrance to the burial ground.
The fine new roof is complete. The scaffolding is removed.
July 19, 2011
The work continues inside.
Lath has been put in place to support the new ceiling.
Asiatic lilies guard the burial ground.
Howard Stoltzfus, left, talks to Jack Grebinger about the restoration of
the Meeting House.
The Meeting House in the Autumn. The new cedar shake roof has begun to weather and the place looks just like it did before the fire. The members and attenders of Exeter Monthly Meeting are very grateful to Howard Stoltzfus for the excellent job of restoration that was done.
Stephen Kindig, one of Oley Hills Alive's Heroes, was the the contact from the Meeting with whom Howard Stoltzfus worked. Kindig was also acknowledged by the Meeting for his great contribution to the project..
A Bieber Bus brought a group of people to see the restored Meeting House. This group was happy to be greeted by members of the Meeting who could inform them about Quaker beliefs and practices.