A familiar East Side landmark will once again be part of Buffalo’s skyline on Thursday, October 30 when a new cupola is lifted atop Corpus Christi’s iconic north tower.
The original copper cupola was more than a century old and damaged beyond repair. It was dismantled on site in August of this year. This undertaking is essential to reverse significant deterioration and potentially much more costly remediation to the church exterior, which threatens the building’s long-term structural integrity, and ultimately its magnificent interior decoration.
The new cupola matches the original in materials and design. All repairs to the north tower stone work will be completed before the end of the 2014 construction season. This project is estimated to cost $612,000.
During restoration, it was discovered that the copper crosses atop the domes of both church towers were filled with hundreds of letters written by the parish’s school children more than a century ago. Unfortunately, time and exposure to the elements had destroyed this historic treasure trove, leaving behind just soggy clumps of paper and bits of corroded metal. Still, the discovery captured the imagination of both the contractor and the congregation, and inspired an invitation to current and former parishioners to record their own messages of faith and thanksgiving for their beloved church. This time around more than 300 letters have been encased in a way that will safeguard them for the future.
Restoration of the south tower was completed in 2012, due in large part to a major grant from New York State. A second State grant has made it possible to now restore the north tower.
Lucy Ederer, President of the Friends of Corpus Christi, explained that “The north tower restoration was eleven years in the making. Completing this project will go a long way toward protecting this historic landmark for generations to come.”
For additional information, visit www.corpuschristibuffalo.org.
NOTE: The cupola is scheduled to be lifted onto the north tower by crane after 1:00pm on October 30th. This delicate process is dependent on many variables, including wind conditions. Please contact Lucy Ederer at 698-3576 for more precise information that day.