The First Presbyterian Church in Southold will renovate the steeple next year, although an official start date for the project has not yet been set.
The steeple is undergoing a complete structural renovation of its internal and external architectural details and surfaces. It started after a routine inspection of the tower revealed the need for renovation.
“Basically, there is internal damage from insects and animals like raccoons and squirrels,” said James Baker, an elder of the historic church. He said rotten wood paneling, cracked facings and a thin sheet of lead, which, among other things, prevents water from entering, need to be repaired on the outside.
The church will also renew the facade of the building. The church tower repair and facade restoration work is valued at $ 200,000, according to Mr. Baker.
The church received $ 3,500 in the nonprofit Sacred Sites Consulting Grant, available to renovate historic buildings and part of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and $ 30,000 in the Sacred Sites Challenge Grant for repair expenses.
The two grants and donations from the community will help complete the project, Baker said.
“This is the church’s first capital program that is quite significant,” said Baker. âI mean, in the past we kind of saved money, saved money, saved money, and then got the job done. So this is something new for us. “
The church has organized and hosted various fundraising drives for the project which Mr. Baker of the ward said were very successful.
They currently have an ongoing raffle with cash prizes, similar to Eastern Long Island Hospitals’ Dream Green, hosted by the Church. In July, they also hosted a steeple chase BBQ at the Greenport Harbor Brewery and Restaurant. On September 23, the Church held a golf tournament and auction at Islands End Golf and Country Club.
The church has its roots in the founding of Southold by English settlers in 1640. The steeple was erected in 1808. Since then, various renovations have been made to the church tower. A bell was added in the church tower in 1855 and the city clock in 1884. Further renovations have been made since then, but this is the first since the 1990s, according to Mr Baker.
The steeple represents faith, stability, and peace for many in the ward, said the pastor of the church, Rev. Dr. Peter Kelley.
âHaving just passed the 20th anniversary of September 11th, I still remember that week and until that weekend people just drove into the driveway, people came into the sanctuary, not just members but people too from the ward that needed it, âpray,â Rev. Kelley said. “And I think the steeple underscored the importance and value that the sanctuary and steeple represent to the people.”