A wooden column was ripped out of the podium at East Harpswell Baptist Church the weekend of Aug. 5-6. (J.W. Oliver photo)

The East Harpswell Baptist Church on Cundy’s Harbor Road was vandalized the weekend of Aug. 5-6, according to the building’s owner, the Harpswell Historical Society.

After breaking a padlock to enter the building, a person or persons ripped a wooden column out of the floor next to the pulpit and discharged two fire extinguishers, according to Historical Society President David Hackett.

A glass object, likely a vase, was smashed on a pew and an ancient Bible was taken from the pulpit and thrown on the floor, Hackett said. The church door was left open. Hackett believes the burglary happened Saturday night or Sunday night.

A wooden column was torn from the podium and two fire extinguishers discharged during a break-in at the historic East Harpswell Baptist Church the weekend of Aug. 5-6. Powder from the fire extinguishers coats the floor and furniture. (J.W. Oliver photo)
Broken glass is scattered inside a box pew in the East Harpswell Baptist Church. (J.W. Oliver photo)

The building is insured, according to Hackett. He was not sure if the society would file a claim or repair the damage itself.

In addition to repairing the column and the podium floor, the society will need to hire a cleaner to remove the powder from the fire extinguishers that now coats the floors and furniture around the front of the church, Hackett said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the break-in. Anyone with information about the incident may contact Deputy George Bradbury by calling dispatch at 207-893-2810 or emailing bradbury@cumberlandcounty.org.

The 176-year-old East Harpswell Baptist Church, at 308 Cundy’s Harbor Road, is on the National Register of Historic Places. (J.W. Oliver photo)

The Greek Revival-style building at 308 Cundy’s Harbor Road was constructed in 1843 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The Historical Society acquired the building in 2008.

“The interior is of special significance because of its intact and now rare reverse plan arrangement; the pulpit stands between the entrance doors and the pews face the entrance,” according to a history on display in the building.

According to Hackett, the purpose of this design was to ensure members would arrive on time and stay throughout the service, because to enter or exit, they had to pass the pulpit.

Other features include box pews and kerosene lamps.

Today, the church has no congregation and is seldom used.