The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Rebuilt steeple is as good as gold
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
The top of Fredericksburg Baptist Church shines just a little brighter now—the ball atop its steeple is once again gold.
The steeple of the church at the corner of Princess Anne and Amelia streets in downtown Fredericksburg was damaged during the derecho in June.
The surprise storm left the part of the steeple the ball was attached to leaning. When a contractor went up to inspect it, he discovered more places that had to be fixed, said Dennis Sacrey, the church’s administrator.
So church officials had the ball and the broken pieces taken down and repaired. And on Friday, the ball was returned to its proper place in Fredericksburg’s skyline.
The original ball is at least 100 years old, Sacrey said.
The church called on Lisa Boone, a restoration artist who was a member of the church 12 years ago before moving to Easley, S.C. Her company does decorative painting and restoration throughout the country.
Boone said she took the copper ball to her South Carolina studio, where she applied several layers of paint and topped them off with 23-karat gold leaf.
She said it took about 16 hours to do all the work.
On Friday morning, she got into the bucket of a large crane and helped place the ball atop the steeple. She also took a second trip up to polish it and make sure it looked just right.
Boone said when she was a member of the church, she told administrators that she would love to redo the gold leaf on the ball if the church ever decided to do that.
“People have been gold-leafing since pre-history,” she said, noting that the Bible has many references to gold.
The ball doesn’t have any symbolic meaning, but does serve as part of the church’s lightning-protection system, Sacrey said.
Boone thought it really adds to the appearance of the church.
“It’s amazing how much light it brings up there,” she said.