Bell Tower Repair

Restoration work on the Middle Valley Community Center

The bell tower was added to the building in 1904 and the bell is thought to have come from the old Califon School House. It is not known how the tower legs were secured to the original porch floor. When the original porch they rested upon required replacement, the Hall members decided to add a concrete slab but it appears no anchoring of the legs was pursued. Over time the legs have twisted and it was impossible to correct. Since the stone foundation and concrete pad were still sound it was decided to construct a new wooden porch on top of the concrete slab and repair the lower sections of each leg using a Dutchman repair. The legs were secured with metal standoffs and boxed with a combination of cedar and pine boards with quarter round at each corner


The upper tower legs were further strengthened inside the enclosed portion of the tower with threaded rods to stiffen the structure. Also added were 1/4" thick angle iron brackets, secured at each cross member and replacement of a few wall members that were in poor condition.

The porch roof was slightly raised to align the trim that ties the two structures visually and the tower re boxed with appropriate wood that matched the original dimensions. Some of the boards had to be made from two boards to match the width of the old lumber. In those cases we used a combination of biscuit joints and exterior epoxy to join them together.

The lower railings were reconstructed to match the ones in our only detailed photo of the building but are approximately 6" taller. The original underside of the tower no longer existed but was reconstructed with a bead board similar to existing material in the upper belfry. Much of the trim was hand made to match the original profiles.

Photos © 2015 Paul Krylowski

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