Historic Preservation Grants Program Awards $10,000 to Meadville’s Baptist Church to Restore Historic Revere Bell

Church Bell
Pixabay/Dimitris Vetsikas

The bell at the First Baptist Church in Meadville was muted because the tower's condition was failing, and it was unsafe to continue ringing. But the historic revere bell will soon be undergoing maintenance due to the Historic Preservation Grants Program, which will provide the local church with monetary assistance of $10,000.

$10,000 Grant to First Baptist Church

Paul Oppenlander, chair of the church trustees, felt worried about the state of the church's bells and met with Verdin, a world-renowned bellmaker in Cincinnati, toward the end of the previous year. Following the chime maker's recommendation, the bell's regular operation was stopped, and preparations were made to restore it. A report from Meadville Tribune, a revere foundry, produced the bell in the 1830s, and it was initially installed in a church in Washington, District of Columbia. The bell was relocated numerous times during the following 45 years as the church convened in various sites, nevertheless in 1906, it was ultimately installed in the tower of the newly completed First Baptist Church, which is located on the corner of Chestnut Street and Diamond Park in the middle of Meadville.

Moreover, earlier this year, the bell that had been rung for centuries to herald activities in the church and the community stopped ringing because of its failing condition and worries for people's safety. As mentioned, the First Baptist Church is gathering funds to make repairs and safeguard the 700-pound bell. This process will require taking the bell from the bell tower using a lifting device this summer and transferring it to Verdin, where it will be sandblasted and buffed. The historic church property will also have a replacement of the clapper, bell wheel, yoke, and bell stand. Thus, the church applied to the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Historic Preservation Grants program, which is highly selective, to acquire financial assistance for the project. Yet, the congregation recently received news that it was awarded the grant. The money must be used solely for the causes specified for their use, and according to Oppenlander, they will pay approximately one-third of the expense associated with removing the bell from the tower, transporting it to Cincinnati, and doing repair work on it.

On the other hand, donations to the church and money from its building fund will reportedly be used to cover the remainder of the project's funding requirements. As soon as the work on restoring the bell is completed, it will be displayed in the church's vestibule until enough money can be gathered to fix the bell tower. Yahoo News reported that the First Baptist Church of Meadville's Revere Bell restoration effort has recently been given its fundraising page on GoFundMe.com. This website facilitates online fundraising for charitable organizations and causes. The renovation of the Chestnut Street church's bell and bell tower will be funded by the project's $100,000 fundraising target.

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DAR Historic Preservation Grants

The National Society of the DAR, established in 1890, has prioritized learning, a sense of duty, and historic preservation as its three primary areas of objective assistance ever since its establishment. They have dedicated themselves to preserving the American story in thousands of meaningful ways, including saving historic properties and artifacts, conserving landmark properties and artifacts, digitizing historical documents, and preserving tens of thousands of places worldwide. Accordingly, projects from any century or period in the archives of American history are reportedly welcome to submit applications. The grant amount is capped at $10,000, and applicants with more modest proposals are encouraged to apply. 

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