Monday, October 12, 2009

Doing My Quasimodo Act

Got your interest? I'm just back from a visit to the attic and base of the belfry of the Bovina U.P. Church, thanks to the help of church trustee Mark Schneider. The attic was a bit of a challenge to walk around, but I was able to walk along the floor beams while holding on to the roof rafters. Mark had brought up a couple of portable lights to make that chore easier. I think I now have figured out where the 1859 addition to the church was made (towards the back).

We then climbed into the bottom of the belfry. Unfortunately, the bell tower itself is only accessible from the outside, but seeing the base was still interesting. We found a bit of graffiti, but not enough to figure out what it said. I'm hoping playing with the pictures on the computer will bring things out. We noted that there have been several repairs over the years to the belfry - we found plywood in some spots. We also saw what the original roof looked like.

Back in the attic Mark found this 24 x 36 wooden box that turned out to have four panels of stained glass. I wanted to try to remove one or two of the panels in the attic but Mark was concerned about attempting that in a space without a real floor. He managed to get the whole thing down the ladder so we could have a closer look in a space with a full floor and better lighting. It appears to be two sets of glass, two panels each. One set was intact but the other had one broken piece. We didn't attempt to take the other half of that panel out of the box. I have some contacts who can give us a better idea of how best to care for these. It is likely that these panels once graced the choir loft, where plain glass now resides. I suspect the main reason for the change was that simply they needed more light in the loft.

The one casualty of my visit was my camera. I had just got into the attic and heard something fall. The camera fell about 20 feet. Mark retrieved it and amazingly, I was still able to take photographs - as long as I held the battery cover tight. I was disappointed about damaging the camera but if it had totally failed I would have been really bummed out being in that attic without the ability to take pictures.

A big thank you to Mark for arranging this little adventure - and for single handedly getting that glass down from the attic. It was all greatly appreciated. And thanks to my neighbor Luke Dougherty for supplying the ladder.

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