Work to begin on restoring pre-Civil War church

Feb 3, 2020

Since before the Civil War, Westminster Presbyterian Church has been a feature of Delaware Avenue, with its towering steeple, vast stained glass and the stone gothic look of the landmark.

All those winters ever since have worn away the fabric of the building, which is why the church, between North and Summer streets, is in its $4 million Preserve the Pinnacle campaign, with work slated to start almost immediately on the foundations of its spire.

Pastor Thomas Yorty says the building roof requires major work and work will start soon on making sure the spire has another century. When the weather warms, steeplejacks will be spinning on wires to replace the slate roofing last repaired in 1903.

"The steeple is the brick foundation of the spire. There has been deterioration, internally, of the concrete mortar between the bricks. So, the moisture in that space has leached the lime out of the mortar and we have some serious pointing to do of that foundation," Yorty said.

Yorty said for many years, his predecessors would approach congregation members and ask them to pay for one of the regularly-needed maintenance projects and they would. Now, there are more formal drives like this one.

Besides the physical repairs, 10% of what is raised will go for mission and outreach programs across the city, like Westminster Economic Development Initiative, particularly its work with the Bailey Green Community Restoration Project on the East Side.