After being unused for a long time, Razorville Chapel will get needed refurbishments when the Friends of Razorville Chapel succeed in raising the funds. The familiar building was acquired from The International Society of Christian Endeavor after a years’ long search to ferret out the legal owner of the property. Originally a schoolhouse, the structure was relocated in 1897 to a tiny plot purchased for the purpose for $15 by trustees of the “Razorville Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor,” namely W.E. Overlock, L.T. Marr, Lewis Day, Newel Jones, and O.B. Collins. It never changed hands from then until last year.

Friends of Razorville Chapel knows that the building was used by the Christian Endeavor organization for meetings and for Sunday school and, probably, church, but the timeline is unclear and far from complete. Everyone with experience and knowledge about the first century of the chapel is encouraged to post facts to our Facebook page facebook.com/razorvillechapel. In time, with the public’s help, we will have a good record of those earlier years.

Ten years ago, a speaker at Washington Historical Society spoke about Razorville Chapel and related the (then) difficulty in finding the owner. The conversation led to a question about whether any group in town could take responsibility for it if, indeed, it could be acquired. At that time there was no interest. Over its long dormant time though, neighborhood residents watched over the place and donated to or outright paid for urgent repairs. Residents like the Sidelingers, Victor Chapman, Mary Merrifield, Bradley and Judy Brann, Steve Melgard and several others warded off serious damage by keeping the building weather tight. By 2018, the Christian Endeavor Society had been located and a transfer of the property was proposed to them by Roy Garnett, Patty Manson, Jillianne Jermyn, and Charlotte Henderson. In fact, the International Society of Christian Endeavor, headquartered in the Midwest, had lost track of this property which was so remote from their activities they were unaware of it. While Christian Endeavor considered the proposal, Garnett, Manson, Jermyn, and Henderson filed papers to become a nonprofit corporation, the Friends of Razorville Chapel. Ignoring Covid and other challenges, the Friends took a leap of faith and accepted responsibility for the property as soon as the Society agreed to let it go. Friends of Razorville Chapel envision the small building being used for special services, meetings, private events, small theater presentations, or music recitals, guest speakers, and other purposes that are suited to an intimate sized hall.

The Friends of Razorville Chapel organizers, with the addition of Zelma Williams, have gathered appraisals and estimates for the work that needs to be done to make the structure solid and safe for public use. It includes foundation and sill replacement, new roofing, and new windows. The estimates, which are now several months old, total about $95,000. The group will be seeking funding from many sources with fervent hope to raise enough to make the chapel long term weather tight before another winter.

The Friends of Razorville Chapel invite the public to check out its Facebook page at facebook.com/razorvillechapel. Contributions may be sent to: Friends of Razorville Chapel, c/o P. Manson – Treasurer, 55 Youngs Hill Road, Washington ME 04574. To talk to someone about the project or discuss a contribution, inquire at razorvillechapel@gmail.com.