1882 - Sacred Heart Catholic Church Bell Tower - Springfield, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
N 37° 13.650 W 093° 17.034
15S E 474815 N 4120147
Quick Description: This church building was originally built in 1882, but was extensively reconstructed just two years later having been nearly demolished by a tornado. The bell was installed in 1890
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 12/15/2013 3:14:41 PM
Waymark Code: WMJPYC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 2

Long Description:
This historic church building is located across from Washington Park and just south of the Commercial Street Historic District, and the railroad which contributed largely to the initial group of parishioners in this north part of Springfield, Missouri.

The following History of the Bell is taken from the parish web site which contains many more details and photos of the bell:

"Our Sacred Heart Church Bell sits in our bell tower supported by an old timber base above the east end of the church. It is only accessible by ladder through a small hatch about 40 feet above the churches main floor. Cast in the bell is a casting date and manufacturer name. The casting mark on the bell shows as “1890 Kaye & Co Louisville KY”. The bell is made of bronze (about 80% copper, 20%, tin) is 39 inches across at the lip and weighs about 1200 pounds. This bell is over three inches thick at some parts.

So, if the casting date of the bell is 1890 and the church was being used by June of 1884..... It only took a year to rebuild the church; why would they wait so long to get a bell? Most likely it took that long before a bell could be afforded? We know the original church did not have a bell when it was first built but did the church have a bell tower? I would think so but I wish we could locate a picture of it to confirm that.

Whatever the story, my guess would be the original church didn't have a bell, the Ladies Society was saving for one when the tornado came and that setback delayed getting one until 1890. Jay Bynum's history of Sacred Heart tells us they had $26 saved towards it before the tornado. There were approximately 100 families in the church at that time to give us an idea of how many people would have been supporting the effort. Bronze church bells of this age and size start at $6000 in today’s market"

Among it's other features is are beautiful stained glass windows.

The following account is taken from a history written by Rev. Father Daniel L. Healy, appearing in the Springfield-Greene County Library District history section.

"According to Rev. Father O'Neill, November 4, 1884, two years after his arrival, must ever remain a memorable date, both in the annals of Springfield, and in the archives of the new parish, for at two o'clock p. m., Tuesday, November 4, 1884, an irresistible cyclone frightfully shattered the west wall of St. Mary's church, partially burying the tabernacle, demolishing upper portions of the side walls, uplifting and hurling the church roof to Locust street, and leaving an appalling wake of wreckage, destruction and death, to perpetuate its unannounced and unwelcome visitation.

The rebuilding of the church necessitated appeals to other cities, where Charity, with sympathetic encouragement, opened Her loving, consolatory hands, and pastor, friends and people were profoundly and gratefully rejoiced to witness the reconstruction of the recently seriously damaged St. Mary's church.

Pending the undoing of those cyclonic ravages in St. Mary's parish, Rev. Father O'Neill continued to reassemble his severely afflicted congregation at the pastoral residence for Sunday services, and, having expended several thousand dollars, collected here and elsewhere, in the noble work of reconstruction, the glorious occasion of re-entering the renovated church edifice arrived; thereafter the parish formerly called St. Mary's, was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus."

Address of Tower:
1601 N. Summit Ave.
Springfield, MO United States

Still Operational: yes

Number of bells in tower?: 1

Relevant website?: [Web Link]

Rate tower:

Tours or visits allowed in tower?: No

Visit Instructions:
Please post an original picture of the tower taken while you were there. Please also record how you came to be at this tower and any other interesting information you learned about it while there.
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Stearman5 visited 1882 - Sacred Heart Catholic Church Bell Tower - Springfield, MO 7/18/2014 Stearman5 visited it