Staggered Steeple

The 200-foot steeple of St. Philip’s Anglican Church has endured natural and man-made assaults on its structural integrity. It is one of the most remarkable buildings in a city known for its classical architecture, and I often take my walking tour visitors inside.The biggest stress came from the 1886 earthquake, when tremors estimated at 7.3 on the (later invented) Richter scale caused the edifice great damage and the fear was that it would soon collapse. Massive wooden beams propped up the steeple until missing sections could be rebuilt, and all was well until the 1990’s when a public parking garage was built down the street, and heavy piling caused the steeple to crack and list once more. Modern engineers came in in 1996 and reinforced the steeple, as well as adding replacement bells for those that were donated to the Confederacy for melting down as cannon during the Civil War. So today, the grand old 1840’s-era steeple stands strong over the historic city.

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