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We don't see tornados very often in Massachusetts, but when one blew through in 2011, the Unitarian Universalist Parish in the small town of Monson took a direct hit. At the end of that fateful June day, the church’s wooden steeple was in tatters on the ground.

The devastation was a blow to the people of this close community, who refer to the parish as the “face of downtown”. The building had already been closed temporarily for structural repairs. When the storm hit, those repairs were near completion and the parish was getting ready to reopen.

We worked with general contractor Murray Brothers Construction, Inc. of Leominster, to recreate the original steeple.

Without an in-tact structure for reference, we sorted through the pile of steeple remnants to salvage anything left that we could analyze. We also turned to architectural drawings. For the parts of the steeple that were completely destroyed, we studied old photographs, zooming in as close as possible to get a glimpse of the structure’s original look.

We recreated dentil mouldings, railings, columns, trim, and blocks in synthetic materials. After about ten months, the church had a sturdier, modern version of its steeple firmly in place.

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