Norfolk church steeple lifted back in place
John Coston

Norfolk church steeple lifted back in place

With much anticipation, the steeple on Norfolk Church of Christ, Congregational’s iconic building was lifted back into place Thursday, Jan. 18, three years after it was removed for repairs.

Three years is an equivalent blip in time for this village landmark, designed more than 200 years ago in 1813. The excitement of onlookers on a chilly January morning reflected years of planning — and praying — after learning in 2015 that the tower was unsafe in winds above 40 miles per hour. Since then, the church has been enlisting consultant help and commissioning an engineering firm to come up with a solution.

In June, a Raise the Steeple Committee of the church announced a $200,000 grant from the State Historic Preservation Office. Individuals and organizations had committed donations and grants for the project, and a fundraising dance party event was held.

When the committee submitted its grant application, project estimates topped $400,000, and prices have continued to rise. The project includes restoration of the clock face and a new clock and chimes controller from the Verdin Company; upgrading the lightning protection on the church by Associated Lightning in Millerton, New York; and the entire restoration of the steeple by Valley Restoration LLC of Litchfield. The weathervane, cross, spheres and clock dial digits have been gold-plated.

Frigid temperatures wouldn\u2019t keep onlookers away Thursday, Jan. 18, in Norfolk as a crane lifted the repaired steeple back on top of the United Church of Christ, Congregational. John Coston

The total cost will be between $750,000 to $800,000, according to a spokesperson for the Steeple Commitee.

Now in place atop the church, the steeple exterior work will be completed restored by the spring and a townwide celebration will be planned.

The Steeple Committee includes: co-chairs Jan Graham Jones and Marie Civco, and Hope Childs, Betsy Gill, Kate Johnson, Rowland Denny, Erick Olsen. Consultants included Ann Havemeyer and Barry Webber.

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