Weather vane successfully removed from historic Watertown Church

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:20 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Over the past 3 years, Steve Massaro has turned a piece of history into a passion project. He has been working to restore Watertown’s 132-year-old First Baptist Church. It has earned him a unique title.

“As Pastor Jeff Smith Says, I’m the clock master. I take care of the bell and the clock under a resolution for the city,” said Massaro, whose title is clerk of the works.

As he worked to keep the clocktower and its bell running smoothly, Massaro realized another area needed fixing: the weather vane. It was getting old and rusty, and some were worried strong winds could take it down.

“It would be a simple matter if it was 20 feet off the ground but it’s over 150 feet off the ground. We had to bring in the varsity players to get this done,” he said.

Those varsity players were from Auburn Crane and Rigging.

Crews brought the machinery and manpower necessary to ascend the church’s spire and remove the vane in just a couple of hours on Thursday.

“Two cranes are needed; one to handle the actual picking of the compass and the weathervane off the top, the other to handle the two men in the basket,” said Massaro.

“It’s a 15-year prayer answered,” said Pastor Smith.

The weather vane will be taken to Converse Welding in Watertown for restoration.

The work is just one small part of a larger revitalization effort on the church led by a committee of citizens with a devotion to local history

“This building is the cornerstone of Public Square. This is representative of a rebirth of downtown. The committee felt it was time to ensure that this stayed in place for many years to come,” said Don Alexander, chairman, First Baptist Church Restoration Committee.

The restoration effort is being funded through the Northern New York Community Foundation. Interested parties are encouraged to donate.