Whatever you wish to call it, there’s a lot going on way up there. In addition to the new cell phone antennae in the little house with the shutters just below the dome, what will we notice in our virtual tour of our tower?
The first room above the choir loft holds the old clock works. The works were driven by a heavy weight that was cranked up into the tower every week. You can still see the weight and cable in the storage room off the vestibule in the front of the church.
Next ladder up is the belfry. Up through the hatch and you are in the open space you can see from the ground, standing next to our venerable 1829 Holbrook bell.. The cast iron clapper is flattened on one side from 172 years of bell ringing! The bell rope is attached to the outside of the big wheel that you can see from the ground, and comes down into the choir loft. The shaft or the wheel is connected to the collar on top of the bell. The bell weighs over 1000 pounds, so we couldn’t ring it without the help of the big wheel.
A narrow portable ladder takes us up behind the clock faces. Now, they are operated by electric motors. Notice the little doors in each clock face where you can reach out to adjust the time. When originally installed, a shaft from the clock works below the bell passed beside the bell and up to a gear box which moved all four sets of clock hands.
On top of the clock area, the old finials (look like pineapples) and decorative fencing has be re-installed. They had been removed a number of years ago because they were badly deteriorated. This restoration was done by the cellular phone company (Sprint), at no cost to the church, as part of their agreement. You will not see any of the thick cables required for the antennae, as they have all been run in inconspicuous places or covered.
The dome is made of wood and covered with a special canvas and paint.
The gilt weather vane about 75 feet above the ground is a traditional design and is our always accurate weather forecaster.
That’s the virtual tour of our steeple. Please watch your step on the way down.
-By Dave Dimmick