'It's a beautiful old place.' Restoration breathes new life into ‘historic’ old parish in Norwalk

The old parish house at the Norwalk United Methodist Church, which is now Cornerstone Community Church, has been restored and renovated following a two-year construction project that included help from the community.

Marissa Alter

May 18, 2023, 9:53 PM

Updated 337 days ago

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What was once a bit of an eyesore is now back to its former glory. The old parish house at the Norwalk United Methodist Church, which is now Cornerstone Community Church, has been restored and renovated following a two-year construction project that included help from the community.
“We started out with the parish house being in extreme state of disrepair. It had no electricity - literally the lines from the street had been cut. Obviously, no heat. And was a mess inside,” said project manager Bob Boothroyd. “It's a beautiful old place. It was built in 1860. The bones were solid and good.”
Boothroyd admits it was a little daunting, but he saw what could be.
“It didn't take me too long to realize I really wanted to be the one to do it,” Boothroyd told News 12. “My pitch to the church was that I wanted to restore more than replace and remodel, and I think that resonated with them so that's what we did. It's a combination of old and new - but as much old as possible.”
Replicating the past wasn't always easy. At the start of construction in 2021, Boothroyd asked the public for help finding old pictures of the parish house.
“A lot of them were just teasers because, you know, you drill down for detail, and they would pixilate. But we did get some that gave us some great clues,” he explained.
Boothroyd said crews removed aluminum siding that had been put on over the years, revealing two things. “They had hacked away every piece of molding that was on the house—windows, everything you see, this molding wasn't there. So, we had to try to figure out what it looked like, and the pictures were very helpful.”
Another surprise was with the roof. He said the shingles were covered in lead paint but in good shape, so they were restored.
Boothroyd told News 12 the house wasn’t just a residence for the pastor back in the day. “It was used for meetings. The church next door was not as large as it is now so if they were having anything from a board meeting to a counseling session or any number of meetings, that would be over here, and so it was really set up to be almost like a meeting hall as well.”
He said the church is still deciding what the present-day use will be.
With the parish house restoration done, renovations will now begin on Cornerstone Community Church. Boothroyd said it's a multiyear project. Phase one will be structural work including a new roof, phase two will be exterior restoration, and phase three will be the church’s interior.


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