In 1947 the Parish Committee voted to borrow $5,000 ($52,000 in today’s dollars) to install a sprinkler system in the Meetinghouse. The record of that decision is one of the many wonderful gems of recorded church history curated by the Archives Committee.
The system selected in 1947 was a “dry” type sprinkler. The piping and heads you see in the building are filled with pressurized air. When exposed to heat, a fusible link in the sprinkler head melts, allowing the pressurized air to escape. Sensing the rapid pressure drop, a valve in the basement releases water into the system and to the sprinkler head(s) exposed to heat and flame. T￼he use of a dry system allowed pipes to be installed in areas that freeze without damage. Next time you walk up to the church note the sprinkler head you can see above the bell in the steeple–just one of the many heads that are exposed to the winter cold.
Our church’s sprinkler system significantly increases the safety of the building and parishioners. The safety benefit is why all modern buildings are equipped with sprinklers during construction. Our recently completed For All the Ages Capital Campaign includes a construction project that benefits from the existence of the 1947 sprinkler system. Our architects noted how often they work on older buildings whose owners must spend a significant portion of the construction budget adding a sprinkler system. We won’t have to do that!
Facts about our buildings, the size of our parish, annual budgets, heated debates, purchase of hymnals, and many more fascinating items are awaiting discovery. The Archives Committee welcomes your interest.