Steeple removed from above burnt church
UPDATE: School Street reopened to traffic as of Saturday evening
UPDATE: Fire Chief says collapse hazards have been removed and School Street has now been re-opened to traffic. Fire investigators will be back on-scene New Year's Day.
Photo courtesy Lebanon Fire Department
Heavy antique bell is removed late Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy Lebanon Fire Department
LEBANON, NH - A hundred-and-fifty years after parishioners returning home from having successfully fought the Civil War put it up, the landmark steeple that had somehow remained standing above the burnt ruin of the First Baptist Church of Lebanon was carefully taken down on Saturday.
With a foundation that was begun in 1861 and a building that was completed in 1866, the church had been an integral feature of downtown Lebanon as it sat just off the corner of the downtown green at the intersection of School and Green Streets until Wednesday night's catastrophic fire.
Crews working with chainsaws and Sawzalls began sectioning the steeple over the noon hour and working their way down the tower trying to salvage any remaining architectural features for potential incorporation into a future replacement building.
A community-wide fundraising effort, similar to the one back in 1992 after the antiquated United Methodist Church of Lebanon burned just a few doors across School Street from the site of this week's three-alarm blaze, has been launched to help First Baptist in the hope that they too can rebuild.
Midnight on Wednesday
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