150-Year-Old Bell Returned and Ready to Ring Again at Irvington Presbyterian Church

Walter Sedovic, principal and CEO of Walter Sedovic Architects; Reverend David Harkness, minister of the Irvington Presbyterian Church; and Jay Fiebich, general manager of Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration, surround the recently returned 150-year-old Irvington Presbyterian Church bell.

L-R: Walter Sedovic, principal and CEO of Walter Sedovic Architects; Reverend David Harkness, minister of the Irvington Presbyterian Church; and Jay Fiebich, general manager of Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration, surround the recently returned 150-year-old Irvington Presbyterian Church bell.

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Installation of the Irvington Presbyterian Church Bells

Irvington, NY (December 18, 2007) – Ten months after Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration carefully removed the 1,200-lb. bell from its tower at the Irvington Presbyterian Church, the church bell, having been retuned at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in England, was hoisted back into its rightful place on December 12.

“Our job is to tune the bell for a specific sound,” said Neil Thomas, Bell Hanger with London’s Whitechapel Foundry, who supervised the tuning and worked hand-in-hand with Seaboard and the renovation architect to reinstall the bell. “Now that it’s tuned the pitch will remain consistent and will resonate better so the bell can be heard at a much greater distance.” In addition to the original bell, which was first cast in 1875 by Menelly & Kimberly in Troy, NY, four new smaller bells (fixed bells struck by hammers and operated by a clock mechanism) that were cast by Whitechapel were also installed. The British foundry, one of only two bell foundries in England, is renowned for having cast the Liberty Bell and London’s Big Ben.

The Irvington Presbyterian Church is located at 25 North Broadway in Irvington and was constructed in 1869. It was designed by James Renwick, architect of the Smithsonian Institution and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

“The exceedingly tall tower and its historic bell are tangible reminders of the influence and beauty the church has in the community. We’re proud to be a part of the town and this project,” said Walter Sedovic, architect of the church renovation and principal and CEO of Walter Sedovic Architects in Irvington, NY.

The recently returned bell was first installed less than a decade after the church was built. It had not peeled in the tower since the late 1950s, when electric carillon bells were installed. When that system failed in the mid-1990s, all bell-driven hymns from the church tower fell silent.

After years of debate among church leaders, the decision was finally made to repair the existing bell and add four new ones. In February 2007, the 4.5-foot high, 3.5-foot wide, bronze bell was finally removed from the church’s seven-story bell tower. It arrived in England in March and returned by steamship in July. It took five months before all the elements were in place for congregation members and townspeople to hear something no one in Irvington has heard for half a century.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime project,” said Jay Fiebich, General Manager of Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration. “This bell has not been heard from for nearly 50 years. We work very closely with Whitechapel Foundry in removing the bell and now we’re very excited that it’s back in place…working on a piece of history that is this substantial is very rewarding to us.”

With projects that include Brooklyn’s historic New Utrecht Reformed Church, the Eldridge Street Synagogue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, Sedovic tapped Seaboard for their vast experience in exterior restoration of landmark places of worship.

“Working with Seaboard is fantastic,” said Sedovic. “We’ve worked with them for so many years on detailed, historic engagements…and that’s where they excel – putting all these fine parts and pieces together on every project we’ve done with them. What’s more, every job has come out so well and so very unique. They always exceed expectations.”

About Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration Company: Based in Port Chester, NY, Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration Company is one of the leading restoration and alteration construction firms in the New York City metropolitan area. The company has received several prestigious awards and numerous accolades for its work on high-profile projects, including The Elephant House at the Bronx Zoo, The Cloisters museum, and The Woolworth Building. For more information, please call (800) 347-7464 or visit www.seaboardwpr.com.