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Sts. Peter and Paul’s new steeple shines for miles

By RENEE WEBB, Globe reporter
(Email Renee)

WEST BEND - When the roof on the church was being replaced at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, roofers noticed the poor condition of the steeple.

“A lot of the copper was simply pulling apart,” noted Father Tom Hart, pastor. “Nails were coming out. Copper was ripped and torn from the wind over the last 100 years. That copper roof had been on the steeple for 100 years. That was the original.”

The roofers had taken some photos to show Father Hart and the parish’s finance board, confirming copper on the steeple needed replacement.

“Copper, after that long of a period, also develops pin holes in it and then you get leakage – which of course is a natural process after 100 years,” the pastor said.

The parish opted to move forward with replacement of the copper and just completed the project, which was done by Krause Konstruction Company of Coon Valley, Wis. The cost was $100,000 for the copper, labor and decorative piece.

The decorative pieces, Father Hart said, included a new cross, a new decorative piece below the cross as well as around the outside. These new pieces match the old cross and decorative pieces, which were taken down last fall and brought to Krause Konstruction’s copper shop in Wisconsin. Their copper smith created replicas of the original pieces.

“The finance board wanted to go with the original material because it is a historic church built by Father Paul Dobberstein and there is nothing that lasts longer than copper and tile for roofing material,” he said. The idea is for the steeple to last another 100 years.

Funds to pay for the project came from parishioners. A challenge was given that if the parish could raise $50,000, one parishioner would match it.

“It shows tremendous generosity on the part of people and I think it shows the importance of faith and love for their church,” Father Hart said.

The pastor noted the biggest challenge associated with the project was the wind and rain. Working at 110 feet in the air, he said, it was tough for workers to hold onto the large pieces of copper when the wind was blowing 20 to 30 mph or more.

The work was completed the first week of June.

“The copper right now is bright and shiny, so when the sun shines on it you can see it for miles away,” said Father Hart, who noted that eventually the roof will turn brown and then turn a patina green. “People comment about how they can see it from a long ways away and how much it shines.”


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