Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Bell Tower

Somehow, it seems like David knows every person in Mt. Angel.

He introduced us to Tony and his wife, who not only offered us parking on their basketball court :) , but a special guided climb into the bell tower of St. Mary's in the heart of town. Finished in 1912, to the tune of $85,000, the incredible church was built for the Catholic families in town. The recent earthquake in 1993 led to the closure and restoration of the church and bell tower, to re-open in 1995.

Tony led David, John, me, Stella and Vickie up the wooden stairs (reinforced with steel) up above the sanctuary. At the beginning, Tony opened a hole in the floor, showing us where the steel was passed through to reinforce the bell tower after the earthquake. (It's the yellow pic above)

We climbed around above the church, seeing the curves of the ceilings from the top - which was amazing. When looking at the inside of the church, you come to realize just how high we're getting. We then climbed up to the clock level of the tower (see the super Spiderman-like climbing skills of Vickie and me - right up there with our nunchuck skills and bowfighting skills). David, Stella and John peeked down from the top of the bell tower as the bells began ringing. Somehow, it was easier going up rather than down, so we were covered in authentic church dirt by the time we reached the bottom. It was then into the sanctuary to see some amazing stained glass and statues. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the other side of a beautiful old parish, and we loved it.

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