Workers start the process of removing the steeple from First Broad Street United Methodist Church on Church Circle on Monday. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — First Broad Street United Methodist Church is retiring its 70-year-old steeple.
The crane is in place and workers began on Monday to remove the 160-foot-tall steeple from the top of the church. The reason given is the wooden steeple is just too far gone to be repaired, according to Vice Mayor Mike McIntire, the former business administrator for the church.
“Our steeple has been leaking water for several years and it was getting to the point it was causing some damage inside,” McIntire said. “It wasn’t to the point of being dangerous, but the exterior is starting to rot, we’ve had some pieces fall off and it was starting to look really shabby in some spots.”
The steeple, along with that section of the church, was built in 1941 and has been painted a number of times over the years. A couple of years ago when the interior and exterior damage became apparent, church officials looked at the possibility of repairing the steeple, but McIntire said the work would have been too expensive.
In addition, crews would have had to erect scaffolding around that section of the church, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and even then the church did not know just how much of the wood was rotted.Read more of this story in Tuesday's print edition of the Times-News or the expanded electronic edition.