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Aspinwall church bell tower repairs start

Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Repairs are underway on the bell tower at the Aspinwall Presybeterian Church on Center Avenue.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The bell tower at Aspinwall Presbyterian Church is getting a face-lift.

Work began on the tower earlier this month.

The tower was built in 1905 and survived a fire on Palm Sunday in 1999 that destroyed most of the church, the Rev. Don Bolls said.

“The bell tower we saved, so it's an old structure,” Bolls said.

Bricks and support beams had started to disintegrate on the tower, Bolls said. It also suffered from wind damage.

“We think most of it was just gradual deterioration simply because it's an old structure — water damage, that kind of stuff,” Bolls said.

International Chimney of Buffalo, N.Y., will complete the project. Bolls said the church is raising $90,000 for the project. It is expected to take up to five weeks to finish.

Saving the tower was important to the church for several reasons, Bolls said.

It serves as the main entrance and is accessible to people with disabilities. There is an elevator nearby for access to the other floors of the church. It also is visible from Route 28 and serves as a landmark for the church.

“It's a symbol of the old building,” Bolls said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or

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