Repairs Underway on Tower of 'Iconic' First Christian Church

Saving the Tower

John Hill
16. April 2023
Photo courtesy of Landmark Columbus Foundation

According to Louis Joyner, project architect on the restoration project, this element of the 1942 church is notable as “one of the tallest load-bearing masonry wall buildings in the US.” That same article points out that the tower started cracking soon after completion, with Saarinen starting repairs on its just six years later: “repairs that would last through the 1970s.” Cracking bricks and rusting lintels forced the congregation to make a decision this century: tear down the tower, which is separate from the main church building, or pay millions of dollars on repairs.

Photo courtesy of Landmark Columbus Foundation

The restoration work underway points to the outcome, which happened from donations to the “Save Our Tower” campaign plus a trio of grants: a $500,000 Challenge Grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation, a $500,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Parks Service, and a $250,000 National Fund Grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places. The total budget for repairs to the tower is $3.2 million, with the eight months of construction expected to wrap up in November of this year.

Photo courtesy of Landmark Columbus Foundation

With repairs underway and funding secured on “one of most iconic religious buildings in America,” Landmark Columbus Foundation is celebrating by hosting its third event in the Progressive Preservation Talks Series, on Saturday, April 21 at 1:00 pm at the nearby Helen Haddad Hall. The free event will feature presentations by Joyner, who is based in Columbus, and Los Angeles-based design expert Daniel Ostroff.

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