Saint Peter Church
Bell Tower Restoration and Repair
Storm damage forced the church to dismantle the upper 40 feet of its bell tower in 1961. More than fifty years later, Berglund masons reconstructed the ornate structure to its former beauty.
  • Project Type
    • Restoration
  • Status
  • Delivery Method
    • Lump Sum
  • Location
    • Volo, IL
  • Duration
    • 12 months
  • Architect
    • Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associations, Inc.
Project Overview

Saint Peter Church, a Roman Catholic Church founded by farmers in 1868, has worshiped in its current building since 1927. Legend holds that the church bell tower was struck by lightning in 1961, which forced the parishioners to deconstruct the upper 40 feet of the bell tower. More than 50 years later, Berglund craftspeople reconstructed the tower to its former appearance.

Approach

The shortened bell tower stood about 50 feet high. Our work began by erecting pipe scaffolding passed the existing structure to reach the height of the new addition. The existing masonry required tuck pointing, and the top of it required substantial structural improvements to prepare for receiving the new loads imposed by building up.

The bell tower addition included three primary components: A louver level access floor, the belfry and the spire. The louver level access floor provides an entry point into the tower from the interior of the church. The reconstructed belfry will house the bell, which was taken off-site for restoration. And the spire raises the new limestone cross to the new peak 90 feet in the air.

To reconstruct these areas, our work scope included tuck pointing existing masonry, reconstructing clay tile masonry backup, pouring new concrete floor decks and support walls and laying ornate limestone and brick masonry.

Outcomes

When the church shortened its bell tower, it removed the bell from the tower and placed it on a concrete pad on the ground. As part of our project, we sent this bell off site for restoration. Once the tower addition was complete, we installed the bell in its rightful place with a new striking unit, controller, bell wheel, A-frames, pillow blocks for smooth operation, clapper, yoke and headpiece. A bishop blessed the bell prior to installation.

Once the tower addition was complete, we installed the bell in its rightful place after a bishop performed the proper blessings.

From the Team
Jeff Berglund

Our ability to blend timeless crafts­man­ship with the latest restora­tion materials and tech­nol­o­gy resulted in a bell tower that looks like it did in 1927 but performs like it was built in 2018.”

Project Manager