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Phase 2 of the Cathedral of St. Helena restoration underway

Cathedral of St. Helena restoration work
Posted at 9:52 AM, Jul 03, 2024

HELENA — The bells of the Cathedral of St. Helena have gone quiet now that Phase 2 of restoration at the historic property has begun.

The Durable Restoration Company is in charge of the rehabilitation efforts, with Phase 2 focused on the preservation and restoration of the northern spire. The work on the southern spire was completed last year.

Construction on the Cathedral of St. Helena began in 1908 and was completed in 1914. It cost $645,000, which would be about $13.4 million to build today.

The cathedral sustained damage from a powerful wind storm a couple of years ago, which displaced clay tiles on the southern steeple. Upon initial inspection, it was discovered the wooden structure would also need to be addressed.

For Phase 2 crews will work on:

  • Repointing Upper Tower Masonry: Utilizing historically appropriate, custom-matched lime-based mortar to ensure the integrity and aesthetic continuity of the upper tower masonry.
  • Crack-Stitching: Addressing and reinforcing the lower portion of the tower by employing crack-stitching where needed, enhancing the tower's structural stability.
  • Pick Up and Re-lay of Terra Cotta Tile Roof: Carefully remove and salvage the historic terra cotta tiles, performing necessary repairs beneath, replacing flashing in kind, and reinstalling the original tiles. This method preserves the historic fabric of the building, replacing only those elements that are beyond repair.

This phase of restoration is intended to extend the life of the St. Helena Cathedral, securing its structural integrity and historical value.

The Durable Restoration Company says restoration work is guided by the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation and National Park Service Preservation Briefs. The goal is to ensure that every step aligns with the highest standards of historical accuracy and preservation.