Updated 1:30 pm
Tisbury town hall is now minus its head ornament. Saturday morning a crane lifted away the weathervane, then the steeple, and finally the cupola.
As of 12 noon, the bell had yet to be hoisted out. The work is part of a reconstruction project. A major beam in the town hall had become stressed from the weight of the cupola and steeple, according to Tisbury facilities manager Kirk Metell.
Either the town needed to install steel support columns to buttress the beam, or it needed to rethink the architectural weight resting on the beam. In the end, the town opted to replace the current wooden steeple with a aluminium one, thus significantly reducing the load.
The steeple weighed about 4,500 pounds, according to Don Velozo, project manager for Architectural Consulting Group, one of the contractors on the job. Velozo said “eight large timbers” held the steeple in place. Four were cut by chainsaw ahead of time, and four were sawed with the crane in position, he said.
The steeple was first lowered onto Spring Street in an upright position. It was then set on its side atop a JWL flatbed and trucked off to the Tisbury DPW yard. The cupola was lowered onto Spring Street directly in front of the Katharine Cornell Theater. The Baxter Crane operator said it weighed approximately 6,000 pounds.
Metell said per the wishes of the town’s historical commission, the steeple and the cupola will be offered for sale to whoever makes the highest offer. The bell and the weathervane will be retained and reused, he said.
In an earlier interview, Metell said the overall cost of the project is between $450,000 and $475,000. The town has been given two years by the historical commission to get the new steeple designed and erected.