Tower Top Takedown

As we write this in July, 2015, we’re reviewing the Tower Takedown contract and project details with Preservation Timber Framing (PTF, Arron Sturgis’ company). The tentative schedule is:

  • Build Scaffolding Around the Tower — Aug. 10–14
  • Execute Rigging and Prep Work — Aug. 17–21
  • Takedown Day — Aug. 26 (+/- a day)

For the Takedown Day, we expect a large crane to be positioned in the small Noyes/Meetinghouse parking lot. It will extend across the roof to lower the Belfry and Lantern together to a waiting wooden base on the north (street) side lawn. The bell and its cradle will be removed and stored, and the open top of the Tower Base will get sealed with a temporary roof flown up by the crane.

(We hope that the weight system that drives the Tower Clock can later be attached to this temporary roof to restore the time-telling function, but haven’t determined this for sure yet.)

The Tower Top should be on the ground for about two years, waiting for the Foundation Rehab project then the Tower Base and Tower Top repairs to be completed. We haven’t yet selected its exact location on the lawn, and are working with the Derry Planning Board to make sure everyone is happy with this. We intend to suitably fence off the Top for security, and may also illuminate it at night.

The projected costs for the Takedown are:

           Rigging & Staging                                        $29,500
Tower Disconnect & Fly (Crane Day)        $16,300
Temporary Base & Roof                                $6,590
Documentation of Conditions                      $4,700
                                                            Total:   $57,090

We’ll use current Meetinghouse Rehab funds to pay for this. The LCHIP grant application we submitted in June includes this as the first of four Tower Rehab phases: the total project cost is projected as $301,211, and we requested $125,000 towards this from LCHIP. (This is a very competitive grant process and we won’t know the outcome until December; see the July Newsletter or any BAC member for details.)

The Takedown Day marks a significant FPC milestone. We’ll be sure to spread the word as soon as it is firmly scheduled, and will arrange for safe viewing for those who can attend.

The Takedown will also be a very visible sign to the community of our multi-year dedication to preserving this important regional landmark. We’ll work with local media in advance to hopefully achieve good press coverage for the Takedown.