First Church Refurbishing Iconic Steeple in West Hartford Center

The steeple of First Church West Hartford is being refurbished and scaffolding has been erected. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The 75-year-old steeple is in need of repair and First Church is hoping for community support for the project.

Close-up view of the deterioration of the steeple at First Church. Courtesy of First Church

By Ronni Newton

The steeple of First Church West Hartford has been an iconic landmark in the Center for 75 years, but exposure to the elements during those years of standing high above the town has taken its toll.

“Paint has chipped off the steeple, rot has set in, and parts have decayed and even fallen off this mighty structure,” said a spokesperson for First Church, which has started the refurbishing of the quintessential white spire but is also looking for donations from the community to assist.

Although the neither the exact location nor the current building are the originals, First Church has been in the center and helped shape the religious, political, and educational aspects of community life in West Hartford for more than 300 years – beginning with its roots in 1713 when it was the “established church” of the West District of Hartford and held its first worship service on Feb. 24, 1713.

The current church building was constructed current to “delight the eye and inspire the spirit” in the 1940s, according to First Church, and the steeple is the home to more than a 50-bell carillon – played every Sunday, as well as during community concerts in July, and for weddings and other events. The construction of the First Church parish house and meetinghouse can be viewed on the YouTube video below, created through a montage of digitized 8mm footage.

First Church will be holding various community fundraisers and will be establishing a GoFundMe campaign as well. Secure online donations can be made at the church website, or checks (include “Save the Steeple” in the memo) can be sent to First Church, 12 South Main Street, West Hartford 06107.

Rainbow behind the First Church steeple, July 2022. Photo credit: Johanna Greenfield

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