It’s been vacant for three decades, but now one former church perched atop Mt. Adams is poised to be the Tri-State's most in-demand wedding venue.
What was once Holy Cross Church opened, Mt. Adam’s Irish catholic parish, was built in 1895, according to Monastery Events Director of Sales and Events, Lindsey Brown. The parish served its faithful for 82 years before closing in 1977.
It wasn’t long before regional developers Towne Properties scooped up the building in the early 1980s, Brown said.
And there it would sit, vacant, for another 30 years.
That is until Towne Properties got in touch with Doug Betz with Receptions, Inc. in 2014, to bring the space back to life as a wedding and reception center.
The $4.5 million, nine-month renovation project was a labor of love, Brown said, started in Aug. 2015 and just completed this past week.
The biggest challenge, she said, was taking an existing historic structure and installing modern amenities and facilities. The heating and cooling system, for instance, had to be installed within a 4-foot crawlspace underneath the building’s main floor. The ceiling was being supported by an aging, 125-year-old system of beams.
Those beams have since been restored.
But perhaps most impressive is the way the renovation incorporated the church’s history into its new life as an event center.
TOUR the newly renovated space in the video player here:
For instance, the new choir loft’s wood spindles were repurposed from the original staircase that still stands in the back of the building, leading up to the second and third floors, Brown said. Wood from underneath the original floor was repurposed and hand cut to replace missing corbel moldings lining the ceiling, and the current top coat of paint on the building’s front apse has worn away in some spots, showing two previous coats of paint underneath, dating back to the early 1900s.
And throughout the event center, staff has hung historic photos of the building, as well as photos from weddings held there during the Holy Cross era.
The construction project itself was a history lesson, Brown said: The team even found a newspaper dating back to 1849, written in German, stuffed into the ceiling rafters.
And it’s not just Holy Cross Church history visitors will find at Monastery Events.
The ceramic medallion inlay in the building’s foyer was hand-carved by local artist Jan Brown Checco, who incorporated Mt. Adams and Towne Properties history into the design.