Holy Trinity work restoring city’s ‘beautiful landmark’|[11/13/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Work to restore the 210-foot steeple of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal, at Monroe and South streets is under way and, once again, the arm of a very tall crane has been seen reaching as part of Vicksburg’s skyline.

“This is about a quarter-million-dollar project,” said the Rev. Michael Nation, rector of Holy Trinity.

Workers are repairing damage to the steeple and will replace the cross. The new cross will be a replica of the original, which has been replaced once. The cross, installed atop the steeple about 10 years ago, as well as parts of the roof and steeple were damaged when Hurricane Katrina blew through Vicksburg on Aug. 29, 2005. It was also struck by lightning.

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“When I walked out during Katrina, the cross itself was pitched at a 45-degree angle toward the west,” Nation said. Winds were not clocked in Vicksburg during the peak of the storm because the local anemometer broke. Estimates are the winds were 55 mph, meaning Katrina was still a Category 1 storm as it moved inland and through Vicksburg.

Brian Scudder, a worker with Phoenix Roofing, the contractor overseeing repairs to the church steeple and the installation of a new roof for the parish hall, said, “When we got it down, there was a hole through it a little bit bigger than a quarter.”

Work to replicate the cross is being handled by Tim Steinrock of Steinrock Roofing and Sheet Metal, a subcontractor of Phoenix. The 13-foot-tall, 5-foot-wide cross is in Louisville, Ky.

The new cross, wood overlaid with copper, will be the third to perch over downtown Vicksburg and the 127-year-old church. The original is on display inside the building, and Nation said a home will be found for the lightning-damaged cross, too.

“The steeple, and the church as a whole, it belongs to the whole city,” Nation said. “We’re doing our best to preserve this beautiful landmark.”

The church was built between 1869, when the parish was chartered, and 1880. The first service was on Easter Sunday of that year.

On the week of Sept. 19, workers made evaluations to the steeple from a Bracken Construction crane.

A section of Monroe Street was closed to traffic and will remain so until the work is complete. Phoenix Roofing staff said workers were ahead of schedule on the 21-day project, but weather would determine whether the street is closed for the rest of the month.