Here’s the steeple

St. Paul Lutheran Church lost the old one in a 2017 storm. This steeple is built to last.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Sande Construction worker Mark Fevold, of Humboldt, puts the cross into place atop the steeple Tuesday morning at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Dodge.

For more than a year, St. Paul Lutheran Church at 300 S. 13th St. has been without a steeple.

The old one left its bell tower when a May 16, 2017, storm with 70 mph winds blew it off. On its way down it damaged the roof.

Tuesday morning, a new steeple was installed by crews from Sande Construction, of Humboldt, and McGough Inc. Excavation & Crane Service, of Fort Dodge.

The Rev. Al Henderson watched from the ground.

“We deliberated whether to get the same kind or something different since the previous one blew down,” He said. “It appears to be the same, but it’s engineered better. We asked them to have it appear the same, not built the same.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
A crew from Sande Construction, of Humboldt, and McGough Inc., Excavation & Crane Service, of Fort Dodge, work together to put a new steeple atop St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Tuesday morning.

The old steeple was mostly wood. The new one is steel and fiberglass.

It was mostly funded by insurance, Henderson said, but the congregation also held a fundraiser to help defray the costs.

The church was not able to get the claim processed and the steeple ordered before winter set in. It’s a custom job and that takes time.

“They don’t have steeples sitting in a steeple warehouse,” Henderson joked.

With the new steeple installed, Henderson said crews can now also make permanent repairs to the roof.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
A crew from Sande Construction, of Humboldt, and McGough Inc., Excavation & Crane Service, of Fort Dodge, work together to put a new steeple atop St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Tuesday morning.

“There was significant damage to the roof,” he said. “That came down like a rocket. It penetrated the roof.”

The new steeple has a design feature that’s not visible from the outside to help the building in storms. It serves as a lightning rod. The cross on top is connected to a thick copper cable that goes all the way to the ground.

Sande Construction worker Mark Fevold, of Humboldt, spent the morning in a lift bucket guiding the steeple into place. He then snaked the copper cable down through the top and securing the cross in place.

It was his first steeple.

“Yes sir, first one,” he said. “It’s a regular job. We do anything and everything.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Sande Construction worker Ron Steinkamp, of Fort Dodge, removes the protective plastic wrapping from the cross that will top off the new steeple at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Rev. Al Henderson watches at right.

He also had a beautiful view.

“You’re on top of the world,” he said. “You’re the highest point in Fort Dodge.”

Henderson isn’t planning any sort of special ceremony to welcome the new steeple, but it will be remembered.

“This Sunday’s prayer will include it,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Sande Construction workers Ron Steinkamp, at left, along with Mark Fevold, use a bucket lift to bring the cross to the top of the new steeple at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Tuesday morning. The cross and bucket cast their shadows on the wall below them.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Sande Construction worker Mark Fevold signals the crane operator below him Tuesday morning as he prepares to disconnect the cable used to lift St. Paul Lutheran Church’s new steeple to the top of the bell tower.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
The steeple of St. Paul Lutheran church was blown off during the high winds that accompanied a severe thunderstorm that moved through the area in May 2017. The top portion ended up on the building's roof.

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