Church takes urgent action on deteriorating steeple

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown’s oldest church has plans to renovate its building. However, urgent, unexpected action had to happen Monday.

The steeple at First Presbyterian Church on Washington Street has graced the city’s skyline for more than 100 years.

Last week, a brick fell, making church leaders take action Monday.

“We actually noticed the deterioration last week and jumped into action pretty quickly to have it done today,” said Rev. Andrew Philip Long, pastor of First Presbyterian Church>

The side of the steeple was wrapped in a tarp Monday to protect pedestrians down below.

It’s a temporary solution until the planned restoration project can begin.

“After more than a century, water has its way of finding its way inside, and with our weather freezing and thawing, it’s just deteriorating, the materials, the brick and the wood, and so we think 140 years was a good run, and it’s time to restore it, especially as a landmark here in Watertown,” said Long.

The project’s fundraising goal is $2 million. So far, half of that has been raised.

Church leaders hope to have the restoration complete by fall.