Step 2: new life for an old weathervane

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:31 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Call it step two.

Repairs are underway to the old weathervane which sat on top of Watertown’s First Baptist Church, on Public Square.

Earlier this month, the weathervane was gingerly removed from the church, in an operation which involved two cranes, and which stopped traffic on the square.

Now, the task of restoring the weathervane has passed to Jeremy Monroe of Converse Welding. It’s no simple task: rods have eroded, slots have rusted, and some parts even need to be replaced.

Monroe says fixing up the piece of iron art has become his passion project.

“My interest is in antiques and fixing things to work again. So my job is my interest. It makes it fun for me,” he told a reporter Friday.

That fun also comes with a lot of responsibility since the weathervane is a piece of history. Throughout the restoration process, Monroe made a point to keep the vane’s original design intact, right down to even the smallest imperfections.

Monroe explained he was “trying to maintain antique value in something, I was told to make it exactly like it was. If an untrained person looked at it, they would not even know it was repaired.”

The most major repair? A tin wing towards the back of the weathervane. Time wasn’t exactly kind to it, so Jeremy was given permission to recreate it from scratch using steel.

“At the era this was made, they did not have the perfect punching equipment to make even replicated sides. if you were to split it in half, each side is slightly different because it’s all handmade,” he explained.

To keep that handmade look intact, Monroe made a stencil from the original, then he traced it with a plasma cutter. All that’s left now are a couple of minor touch ups - then the vane can be reassembled.

“I like the idea that I’m going to be tied to a very long lasting piece of history. 100 years from now, when somebody else goes to repair it they’re going to be working on something I worked on,” Monroe said.

After this part of the project - the weathervane will need finishing work, bringing it to its original color before it’s returned to the top of the clock tower.