Harrodsburg, Ky. – Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill has been awarded a $5.1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. in support of site’s Restoring the Spiritual Center project.
The project will preserve, protect and interpret the site’s two most iconic buildings, the 1824 Centre Family Dwelling and the 1820 Meeting House, which served as the spiritual epicenter of the Pleasant Hill Shaker community for nearly 100 years.
The management, care and public access to historic Shaker spaces, collections and archives will be targeted for improvement through the project. The two buildings are testaments to Kentucky Shaker craftsmanship, ingenuity and spirituality. The 24,000 square-foot Centre Family Dwelling was once the second largest structure in the state, and the Meeting House’s design includes an intricate hanging truss system that completely supports the second floor, providing unobstructed first floor worship space.
“Shaker Village tells the story about an important religious community that helped to shape American religious life,” said Christopher Coble, vice president of Lilly Endowment’s religion division. “We are pleased that the endowment is able to assist Shaker Village in its efforts to preserve the Shaker’s historic legacy and make its spiritual history and insights accessible to future generations.”
Shaker Village is entering the initial stages of a multi-phase effort to transform the property into a vibrant cultural resource to preserve the site’s future, according to the news release. “The initiative will equip historic spaces for new community-centered programs that ignite curiosity, expand imaginations and inspire tomorrow’s preservationists, conservationists and historians,” the release stated.
“The Endowment has demonstrated a magnificent commitment to Shaker Village’s future,” said Maynard Crossland, president and CEO. “This award will propel us to new heights and is an affirmation of the compelling and powerful nature of this property’s potential and the approach we are taking to preserve its future.”
A 2013 historic preservation site review assessed and identified endemic concerns of various degrees of deterioration that threaten to affect structural integrity, progressive damage, loss of historic fabric, and code and safety concerns throughout the property, including within the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House.