STANLEY The Village Church at the Flickertail Village and Museum has gone to the birds, but it might still be salvaged with an expensive cleanup effort.
Gerry Nelson-Henin said the church building had to be moved last year along with a few other buildings when the town of Stanley decided to install a frontage road in front of the museum.
During the move, a board shifted that had separated the attic and church bell tower from the church proper.
The interior of the former St. Margaret’s Catholic Church was damaged when the building had to be moved so the city of Stanley could install a frontage road in front of the museum. A board shifted, allowing birds roosting in the attic to also damage the main area of the church.
The Village Church at the Flickertail Village and Museum in Stanley before it was damaged by birds. The museum board is seeking donations to pay for a biohazard company to clean up the building.
"The birds got into the main part of the church and it's a mess in there," said Nelson-Henin. Before the move, volunteers had laid all of the church furnishings flat on the floor inside the building; they too are damaged by the bird droppings. Volunteers also have discovered that the church bell tower had never been sealed off from the attic and the birds, mainly pigeons, had been roosting in the attic for years.
"It's basically become a Hazmat situation that is going to take a very thorough cleaning and sealing of the boards," said Nelson-Henin. "It's going to cost quite a bit of money to do that."
Nelson-Henin said a bio-hazard service company gave the museum board a quote of $16,900 to do the work.
"Alone, the museum cannot afford to hire such a service, and its board of directors is not able to take on the cleaning task alone," said Nelson-Henin.
Nelson-Henin said the museum board is asking for donors who are willing to fund the project or, failing that, volunteers who are willing to join together and remove the affected insulation, ceiling material and carpeting, sealing the exposed framing in the attic, disinfecting the walls and floors and completely deodorizing the building.
Nelson-Henin said volunteers would have to wear masks and other protective gear to clean up the building. The task is so daunting that it might be easier to hire the cleaning crew to do it, she said.
"If neither of these requests is met, the church will ultimately have to be demolished," said Nelson-Henin.
Nelson-Henin said it would be a pity to tear down the historic church, which was formerly St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Blaisdell. The church was built in 1914 and was moved to the Flickertail Village and Museum in 1991. Hundreds of people who have toured the museum have enjoyed looking at the 100-year-old church, which currently cannot be entered safely.
Nelson-Henin said many of the people from the Blaisdell area who attended St. Margaret's are still living in the area and she hopes some of them will be willing to contribute to the clean-up effort.
The Flickertail Village and Museum in Stanley has 18 buildings with historic displays. Also included in the museum is a depot, jail, school, pioneer homestead, country store, Girl Scout collection and restored dolls. The museum is open between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sundays and is also open by appointment. Nelson-Henin said there aren't enough volunteers to keep the museum open longer hours, but the museum board is always looking for more volunteers and donations.
Volunteers and donors may call the museum board president, Chauncey Henin, at 628-2326 for more information.