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Progress made on Newark Union Church restoration

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Newark Union Church Facebook page
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A new cedar shake roof is installed at Newark Union Church

As work on the Newark Union Cemetery’s War Memorial Garden nears completion, restoration of the historic 1845 church continues.

The first restored cathedral window was installed in late July and a second window was removed so repair work on it can begin. Meanwhile, work on a new cedar shake shingle roof is nearly complete.

The Dalys will be talking about both the church and cemetery restoration projects on Sunday, Aug. 15, as part of the monthly “This Place Matters” series at the Hale-Byrnes House, 606 Stanton-Christiana Road, off Delaware Route 7 near Stanton. The historic home, built around 1750, was the site of a war council led by General George Washington in September 1777, between the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge and the Battle of the Brandywine. Washington, along with Nathaniel Greene, Henry Knox, the Marquis de Lafayette and other Continental Army officers, were planning the defense of Philadelphia. (The British thwarted Washington’s plans and occupied Philadelphia from late September into the spring of 1778.)

Revolutionary War historian Kim Burdick, resident curator at Hale-Byrnes launched the “This Place Matters” series in 2016, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Historic Preservation Act by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

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Credit Newark Union Church Facebook page
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The first new window at Newark Union Church has been installed

The talks usually focus on historic sites in Delaware. Subjects for upcoming programs include the Ashland Nature Center and the White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, which is marking its 300th anniversary this year.

Promoting interest in historic properties is essential to their preservation, Burdick says. The Hale-Byrnes House itself was threatened with demolition in 1961 when the state planned to relocate Route 7. A group of preservation advocates rallied to prevent the demolition and the house became property of the state Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs in 1971. A nonprofit, the Delaware Society for the Preservation of Antiquities, is responsible for managing the house under a curatorship arrangement with the state.

“It’s local people who care who make all the difference in the world,” Burdick says, pointing to an arc of preservation initiatives spanning the years from the rescue of the Hale-Byrnes House to the Newark Union restorations.

“When people see how much history is involved in these old buildings,” she says, “they realize that it makes a lot more sense to keep things that are old.”

The Dalys’ presentation on Newark Union is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15, on the Terrace at the Hale-Byrnes House. Admission is $5 and includes coffee, tea and dessert. “Well-behaved children are always welcome,” Burdick says. More information is available at the Hale-Byrnes website.

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