Historic OTR bell tower faces demolition

Historic OTR bell tower faces demolition
Bell tower at historic church set to be demolished

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The historic bell tower at First Lutheran Church in Over-the-Rhine is set to be demolished.

The tower and the church have sat on the east side of Race Street across from Washington Park for 125 years.

Pastor Brian Ferguson says inspections found the bell tower is significantly deteriorating and would cost $1.2 million to restore.

The church is fresh off a $1.3 million facade renovation by SSRG.

Ferguson says further renovations are planned.

He explains the church, which has stopped in-person services during the pandemic, is widely used by members of the community in normal times. That, he says, is why he wants the building to be made fully accessible, which includes the installation of an elevator.

“If we have $1.2 million, what would we rather have, a historic bell tower or a fully accessible building that is fully restored?” Ferguson said. “And we come down in the position that the community benefits more, as much as we don’t want to lose the tower, the benefit is greater. And it also allows us to still come back in the future date.”

Ferguson says demolition work on the bell tower is expected to start next month and will take roughly two months to complete.

He says it’s possible another, smaller bell tower could be built in the future.

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