I was fortunate to do another assessment of the PCBC Steeple last week, my third such climb to the top. Hard work, but I always enjoy the spectacular views and the fascinating detailing. In a shocking lack of situational awareness, I was poking around the belfry when the carillon announced that it was noon. All I lacked was Esmeralda.....and adequate ear protection.
The PCBC steeple has some issues, but is overall holding up well. A steeple is a remarkably difficult environment. It is elevated far above all other forms of shelter, so there are no trees or adjacent buildings to help mitigate the environmental ravages upon it. The heat is hotter, the cold is colder, the wind is MUCH stronger and rarely, if ever, is it calm. Moisture coming and going through masonry and other construction is normal, but these conditions force it much deeper and the temperature swings are much more extreme. This accelerates normal wear and tear on the construction, a condition we can glimpse much closer to the ground, in the parapets of masonry buildings. Yet the forces at these heights is so much more powerful and much harder to keep tabs on. And then there is lightning.
Fortunately, a committee has been created to focus on the tower and its needs. More information to come.