The Warwick Historical Society has received three grants to help restore the historic Union African Methodist Episcopal Church (U.A.M.E.), located on Forester Ave. in Warwick. The grants, totaling $17,000, were given by Jones Chemical in honor of their dedicated employees, Orange & Rockland Utilities, and the Warwick Savings Foundation.
This century-old historical church is a testament to Warwick’s rich African-American Heritage. The church, built in 1906, was originally located on McEwen St. in Warwick. Built with the help of funding from Warwick residents, the church symbolized the collaboration between the region’s black and white communities in the early 20th century – a relationship considered quite progressive for its time.
In 2007, the U.A.M.E. congregation donated the building to the Warwick Historical Society when they outgrew its walls. Through generous donations from an anonymous donor, the Warwick community, and once again a grant from the Warwick Savings Foundation, the church was moved, intact, to its current location on Forester Ave. and restorations began. Additional assistance for the move was donated by Orange & Rockland, Warwick Valley Telephone Company, and Cablevision.
The restoration so far has included improvements such as insulation, interior wall finishes and lighting, and restoration of the doors, floor, and other infrastructure. The newly allotted funds will help the Society to make the building handicap accessible, install a heating and air conditioning system, as well as a restroom.
The Society intends to utilize the building as a cultural center for workshops, exhibits and lectures, an art gallery, and a meeting space for community organizations.
As the Society identifies the necessary funds, the Forester Ave. campus, which houses four structures and an active archaeological dig, will transform into a history laboratory. In the spring of 2019, a permanent Agriculture Exhibit will open in the Sly Barn and the ShingleDig, which is now fenced, will be accessible for educational purposes.
For more information or to become a member of the Warwick Historical Society, call 986-3236, ext. 106 or visit www.warwickhistoricalsociety.org.