Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration Readies 150-Year-Old Church Bell for Retuning

Irvington Presbyterian Church

Irvington Presbyterian Church

Irvington Presbyterian Church

Irvington Presbyterian Church

Irvington Presbyterian Church

Irvington Presbyterian Church

Port Chester, NY – (April, 2007) – The day harkened back to an era gone by, when artisans and craftsmen painstakingly constructed houses of worship. On a snowy February morning, workers ascended one-by-one up a series of extension ladders and into a narrow bell tower to disconnect, rig, and lower the bell atop the Irvington Presbyterian Church in Irvington, New York. Church elders watched and waited from morning until night, taking turns climbing up the ladder and holding their breath as workers inched their beloved bell off its support frame. A representative from the White Chapel Bell Foundry, one of only two bell foundries in England, flew in from London to inspect the bell, consult with the architect and advise workers on procedures for proper handling of the bell.

Like all musical instruments, church bells require tuning. Their tuning, however, is not as simple as bringing a bell tuner on-site – bells have to be removed from their tower. Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration recently worked with Irvington Presbyterian Church to remove its over 1,000 pound, 150-year-old bell. The bell was cast in 1875 by Meneely & Kimberly in Troy, NY.

“We were pleased with the care and time Seaboard devoted to our project, one that was more complex and time-consuming than originally thought,” said Rev. David Harkness, minister of the Irvington Presbyterian Church in Irvington, NY. “Now we look forward to the return of the bell along with four newly-cast bells which will bring beautiful sound to our church and community.

As the first step in an exterior renovation of the church and addition of a four-bell carillon to the bell tower, the church needed to remove the original bell and send it for retuning by its original manufacturer, the same British foundry that forged the Liberty Bell and bells in London’s Big Ben. Sound travels farther and chimes are more melodic from a bell that is properly tuned.

“We contacted Seaboard for assistance because of their extensive, careful, and caring work on landmark buildings and historic houses of worship,” says Walter Sedovic, architect for the church renovation and principal and CEO of Walter Sedovic Architects in Irvington, New York. “Seaboard is one of the few companies that understands the language and philosophy of the restoration of this Romanesque church that was built in the 1800s.”

“The removal of the bell and steel support was difficult and dangerous but highly rewarding,” says Michael Y. Ahearn, President of Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration. “We worked in an extremely tight space, dressed in protective gear, and with additional safety precautions in place to protect both the bell and our workers.”

Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration Company has developed expertise in the exterior restoration of landmark houses of worship. The company currently is working beneath the rafters of Brooklyn’s historic New Utrecht Reformed Church in preparation for installation of a new authentic cedar shingle roof. It was integrally involved in the exterior renovation and finial restoration at the Eldridge Street Synagogue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Currently, Seaboard’s team is participating in the restoration of the landmark Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York, a stop on the “Underground Railroad.”

Seaboard Weatherproofing and Restoration is located at 530 Willett Avenue in Port Chester, NY. The Company recently celebrated its 60th anniversary in business.

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 90 West Street. For more information, please call (800) 347-7464 or visit www.seaboardwpr.com.