Project to restoring bell tower, twin spires
By Chad Koenen
A restoration project years in the making will come to fruition at the Trinity Center in Henning this summer.
The bell tower and the steeple, which have been synonymous with the front of the building for well over 100 years, will be fully restored. The project will be meticulous as the Trinity Center has received a grant that will replicate the historic pieces of the building in nearly an identical way.
In order to help pay for the project the Trinity Center received a grant for $113,000 and will contributed another $5,000 for the project to complete the work. The grant came to fruition thanks, in large part, to the Trinity Center being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Without that grant the project would be difficult to complete, due to the overall cost and scope of the project.
“The fact it is on the National Register of Historic Places made it eligible for this type of funding,” said Dan Broten, who has helped with the grant process for the project. “It’s a project that probably wouldn’t get done without the grant.”
According to Broten, everything from the way the cedar shake shingles were placed on the building will be replicated as closely as possible when construction begins later this spring. The cedar shake shingles that are currently on the building are the original shingles to the structure. The shingles date back to the late 1890s and restoring the twin spires and bell tower were some of the top priorities that were identified by a condition assessment of the building several years ago.
Construction could begin in the next few weeks and should wrap up by August. Broten said the first thing that will likely be worked on will be the large metal balls on top of the twin spires. The work will be completed in Pennsylvania, before being shipped back to Henning to be placed on top of the building.
The cedar shake shingles will also be replaced as part of the project. The project plan is detailed as to how the shingles will be placed on top of the building in order to give it the same look as it had when the building was originally constructed in the late 1800s.
“When they are done by the end of August that place should look like a million bucks,” said Broten, who added that the goal is to restore the original look of the building. “It will be just exactly what was there originally.”
The project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.