Over $2.5 million has been raised so far to cover the $3 million expense.
The steeple at Philadelphia’s historic Christ Church is leaning. The steeple has a pronounced tilt to it, one that has compromised its structural integrity. The tilt developed over the church’s three-century history and is now leaning 22 inches at the peak.
The landmark church is now getting a bit of help. The National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency, has given the church a $500,000 grant for the repair. Right now, the major problems that exist are rotted wood and structural failures that are contributing to the overall lean of the church.
Christ Church is not any old structure in the historic city of Philadelphia. The historical value of the church is hard to understate since notable members of this church include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and even Betsy Ross. This makes the repairs even more important.
Benjamin Franklin even had a hand in the creation of the tower and steeple of the church by holding a lottery that would fund the construction centuries ago. While Franklin was a member of this church, rumor is the diplomat and inventor wanted to use the tall tower so he could conduct experiments with lightning. Whether or not that was a good idea within a wooden church so close to the brick tower is another matter entirely.
The desire to experiment from this building is understandable as it would become the tallest structure in America until the mid-19th century. However, in its sorry state, the leaning tower has made it difficult to appreciate its beauty and history.
Christ Church has raised a total of $2.5 million so far and hopes to hit the necessary $3.1 million needed to stabilize and repair the tower and steeple. While two supports have already been added into the steeple now, there is a need for at least six more to prevent potential collapses.
This is a great attempt to preserve history and religion. While this repair will not ultimately fix the tilt, it will keep it stable so future generations can enjoy the tower.