Deena C. Bouknight, Contributing Writer
Cartoogechaye Baptist Church has been steeple-less for a few weeks. The 20-plus-year-old steeple had accumulated mold and its paint was fading. Plus, a small leak around the steeple base had to be repaired.
A removal project, headed by church member Wade Shope, required crane equipment. Tim Brackett, a deacon at Cartoogechaye Baptist Church, said, “We have a lot of talented people in our church who also know of various resources, so we put it out there that we needed a crane to get the steeple down and someone knew a crane operator. He volunteered his services since we are a church.”
This was the first time the steeple has been removed.
“It was a pretty big chore to get it down. The crane operator had to be very careful with it, of course. And once we had it down in the parking lot, we realized how much mold and mildew it had on it. We pressure washed it with a bleach solution and painted it with mildew resistant paint, so hopefully removing the steeple will not have to happen again for a while.”
Another coat of paint is needed in the next week to complete the project, and then the crane operator will need to bring back equipment to replace the steeple.
“We tried to wash and paint the steeple while up there, but that proved dangerous and plus we couldn’t do a thorough job,” said Brackett. “But we were able to fix the leak in the roof with the steeple removed.”
He added, “The steeple is very white and bright right now. We wanted to clean it up because it’s such a pretty setting for a church – with the mountains and pastures surrounding it and the Cartoogechaye Creek flowing beside it.”
The church, currently headed by interim pastor, Brandon Finegilio, has existed since the 1800s, with the prior church building located where there is now an overflow parking lot. When the new church was built 20 years ago, pews from the old church building were removed and are currently in the newer church building.