KAYSVILLE — Bullet holes were discovered in the old cap of a bell tower on a quaint Presbyterian Church when reconstruction of the tower began last summer.
Located on the corner of 100 East and Center Street, this historic building has been a landmark in Kaysville for 126 years and those years have taken a toll on the church.
Last year Hazel Parrish, who now owns the church her parents, Alpheus and Ivy Harvey, bought in 1933, decided church repairs needed to begin.
The Harveys purchased the church along with the home to the west where Parrish was raised for $1,100 eight decades ago. It is the home that Hazel Parrish was raised in.
Parrish said finding the right contractor wasn’t easy because most didn’t want to take on the bell tower’s steep roof.
But she was able to contract with Building Craft Construction, a company that specialized in restoring old buildings.
Company owner Wallace A. Wright, III, known as “Tri”, and his employee TJ Bradley were up to the challenge.
“It was four inches out of level,” Bradley said of the tower.
A machine was needed to straighten out the tower, Wright said. And that machine also was used to lift contractors up to work on the roof and bell tower.
Mandy Parrish, who is married to Hazel and Walter Parrish’s son, Matt Parrish, now lives in the historic home next door. She said the tower began to lean more after the early December winds of 2011.
“It used to have panels on all four sides,” Wright said. But those panels were not on the original tower when it was built in 1888.
“It had to be structurally reinforced on top and bottom. Most of the wood had rotted away so it had to be taken down to bare bones,” he said. “When we started opening it up, the damage was more extreme than we anticipated. We replicated everything as well as we could.”
Contractors used pictures of the early church to restore the tower to its original glory.And the colors are the same as the original.
“We scraped the paint to find the colors,” Wright said.
There is now a copper cap replacing the former cap.
“It had bullet holes in it. There is nothing else that it could have been,” Bradley said. “Someone probably shot the cross off.”
While working on the tower, Bradley said workers found antique handmade nails in graduated sizes.
The old braces weren’t working anymore and there were three feet of pigeon nests in the tower.
Bradley re-carved the pillars by measuring and using a level to make sure they were identical to the original.
“I am a perfectionist,” Bradley said. “Those are literally the same pillars. It took a couple of weeks just restoring the posts.” Bradley said.
There are eight posts, including four corners.
“I am passionate about it,” Bradley said of the restoration of the tower.
“It is breathtaking to me. I means as much to me as it does to them. Technically it is my masterpiece. It is an honor to be part of it.”
The cost to restore the tower was so expensive that work has stopped for a while but will continue as money becomes available.
“We’ve got to get it finished,” Hazel Parrish said. “He will give us estimates for the windows and trim. The windows are in bad shape.”
As Wright looked up at the tower he said, “We are going to add corbels, filigree and a baluster element to make it look like it did.”
Old pictures of the building were enlarged so builders could closely replicate the cross on top of the bell tower.
There were three crosses altogether on the original building. The new cross for the bell tower was fabricated locally. And according to Walter Parrish the brick came from the Ward Brick Yard in Fruit Heights. Some of that brick work had to be re-pointed.
The original Presbyterian Church, designed by prominent Kaysville architect William Allen, was built as a church school. School was taught in the building during the week and church services were held on Sundays.
A minister from Ogden preached the first services in the little church, according to the church’s history.
In 1887, Pastor E. M. Knox was transferred to Kaysville becoming the first minister stationed at the church.
Children from throughout town attended the tiny school where they were taught by women lady teachers from the East, said the history. Many of the students left the school to attend Kaysville Elementary when it was built in 1905.
There was no school bell, nor bell in the tower. In 1909, church school closed and the Presbyterian members discontinued use of the building.
When Kaysville Elementary, located across the street, needed more room for third-grade students from 1915 to 1918, the little church became a third-grade classroom, said the history.
Those children raised the money to put a bell in the tower. But that bell stopped ringing many years ago, said the history. The bell hasn’t rung since New Year’s Day 1933.
“My dad sold the bell to pay an electric bill,” said Hazel Parrish, “Dad spent years trying to find that bell.”
A new bell will be placed in the bell tower as soon as enough money is raised to have one made and installed.
“It was a major undertaking but now it will be good for many years with some maintenance,” Wright said of the restored bell tower.
The church has been home to several different types of congregations.
The first congregation after the building was owned by the Hazel Parrish’s parents to meet there was the Church of the Nazarene.
The Kaysville Bible Church met in the building in 1972 and in 1988 a Baptist church used the building.
Later the building was the location for The Church of Christ.
Currently, the church is where The Pentecostals of Davis County meet.