Monday, September 15, 2008
The father of our former neighbor is a retired steeplejack. Steeplejacks are the most specialized of carpenters - they are the ones who climb skinny ladders and scaffolding to build and repair the tall steeples on old city churches. So when he'd come over to our neighbors house to do odd jobs and basic maintenance, it was easy sailing for him compared to his year's working alone at the top of a tall, narrow steeple. The views he had of our neighborhoods was something seen by few.
Thinking of those heights made me wonder if any of the churches around town offer tours of their bell towers? Some of them are so narrow they are only accessible by a ladder. However, others look big enough to have staircases to the top.
Climbing to the top of a church bell tower would afford wonderful views of the surrounding neighborhood and church grounds. If churches could arrange one or two days a month where they'd open the tower for guided tours, it would be a good way to promote the churches, the neighborhoods, and the architecture of the city.
A nominal fee benefitting the church could be charged, with volunteers from the church serving as docents for the tower visits. I'd pay $5-$10 to have a chance to visit these unique spaces. Call it urban exploring with an invitation. Anyone know if such tours are available? I'll call Our Lady of Sorrows on South Kingshighway later today to see if their Italinate tower (shown above) is ever open to the public. Check the comments later for an update...