Southborough church completes clock tower project

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Southborough church completes clock tower project
The clock tower at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church has been restored after a project that took nearly two years. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

SOUTHBOROUGH – For the first time in nearly two years, there are no scaffolds covering the front of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Route 30.

Work was recently completed to repair and restore the masonry at the church’s bell and clock tower.

“The bell and clock tower will continue to serve as a prominent and highly recognizable feature of the historic town center and part of the cultural landscape for future generations,” according to a press release issued by the church.

The church was built in the early 1860s by local businessman Joseph Burnett; the bell and clock tower was added in 1891 and gifted to the church by Charles F. Choate.

Burnett also founded St. Mark’s School.

 

Southborough church completes clock tower project
The masonry around the clock was restored before the clocks were re-installed. (Photo/St.Mark’s Church)

About the project

In 2017, St. Mark’s hired Spencer Preservation Group to perform a detailed conditions assessment, and over the summer of 2019, Cenaxo LLC was contracted to perform the first phase of restoration, resulting in the installation of a new roof.

In June 2022, a second phase of restoration work was initiated engaging Cenaxo LLC to perform deep masonry repointing, and rebuild walls and buttresses. In consultation with the engineering firm Structures North, numerous masonry reinforcement methods were implemented, including the addition of structural steel supporting the belfry level floor joists, rebar and tie rods inside each buttress column, and the use of cement-injected “sock-anchors.”

The church received a $100,000 historic preservation grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission; and $300,000 in Community Preservation Act funding administered by the Southborough Community Preservation Committee and approved by Southborough Town Meeting voters in May 2021.

The church also recognizes the generosity of the parish that donated to the tower capital campaign. Also, members of the church’s bargain box clothing resale organization helped to bridge the financial gap, bringing this $1 million-plus historic preservation project to a successful conclusion.

“It simply would not have been possible to complete the restoration of this historic Southborough landmark without the combined investment of public and private funds. It is humbling to realize how much people value community preservation in this town,” said Mark Weiler, senior warden for St. Mark’s Church.

A public celebration and dedication of the restored bell and clock tower is planned for early May. Additional details about the celebration and dedication will be announced in February.

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