EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 7, 2012

Setting out the welcome mat

Point Shore House Tour offers scenic views -- inside and out

When the weather turns chilly and the 100-year-old canopy of oaks, maples and elm trees that line the Merrimack River come alive in brilliant shades of gold and red, Amesbury’s Point Shore neighborhood is at its best.

From the windows and porches of homes that line the shore, residents have front row seats to the seasonal transformation. And, next Saturday, 10 Point Shore neighbors are opening up their houses for the public to get a glimpse of those views — and a look inside their homes — while raising money for the restoration of the picturesque Union Congregational Church.

Organized by the Union Church Restoration Alliance, this is the second year of the Point Shore House Tour. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 13, curious admirers can step on a shuttle and be taken to and from homes all the way from Hawkswood on the east side to Hatter’s Point, and everywhere in between.

Organizer Carol Glenn hopes that along the way, participants notice the pretty white church steeple in the distance that’s stood watch over the area for almost 200 years. Struggling with declining membership and the mounting costs of maintaining the historic structure, Union Church members announced two years ago they were considering the possible closure and sale of the beloved church.

But with help from neighbors who stepped forward to set up a non-profit to receive donations and help organize fundraisers like the House Tour, there is hope that the church will remain.

“I think to see it in its setting – how important that building is to the setting of the neighborhood, and to Amesbury, it’s important,” Glenn said. “It’s not just preserving the building that matters to us, it’s ensuring that the congregation can continue to thrive in that location. I think the neighbors love seeing the steeple lit at night and they love hearing the bell ring on Sunday morning.”

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