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Archives Steeple project was 100 years in the making

June 26, 2024

By Darcy Fargo

On June 17, a project 100 years in the making was completed at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid.

That day, the bell tower at the church was capped with a 14-foot peak and an 8-foot Celtic cross.

“The original architecture plans of D.D. Kieff of Watertown, NY, were scaled back because of cost,” wrote Father John R. Yonkovig, pastor of St. Agnes Church, in a statement. “The blueprints of the original steeple had a traditional peaked roof pointing to the heavens. This feature, along with others, was eliminated to cut costs.”

Instead, the bell tower was originally completed with a flat roof, which Father Yonkovig said has been a source of leaks and water issues for years.

The flat roof was also the source of questions for years, the pastor said.

“A few people did ask why we had a flat roof,” Father Yonkovig said. “It never looked right to them. I came across the old blueprints when I was cleaning out a closet. When we renovated the interior of the church in 2013, the contractor was asking about the old blueprints, and I went looking for them.”

The ground was broken and excavating work began to construct the church on June 2, 1924, 100 years and a couple of weeks before the steeple and cross were installed.

The new steeple top was built by JFP Enterprises, Inc. of Plattsburgh. The company used the original 1924 plans to guide the construction process.

Weighing in at eight tons, the structure was lifted and placed by a 180-foot crane owned and operated by Luck Brothers Inc., “to the applause and cheers of many parishioners and school children,” Father Yonkovig said.

Since the installation, Father Yonkovig said he’s been amazed at how many people echo the same comment: “It finally looks finished. It looks like it has always been there.”

“It’s a testimony to the integrity of the original design of the architect,” he said.

The steeple construction and installation were made possible by the diocesan Capital Campaign.

“The 2018 Capital Campaign of the Diocese was designed to update and strengthen the parish buildings for the next generation,” Father Yonkovig said. “The steeple improvement is the last of the projects from this campaign at St. Agnes.”

Father Yonkovig said he hopes the completed project – the completed church – will inspire Lake Placid residents and visitors.

“It is now the highest part in the village,” he told WPTZ news, the NBC affiliate for the eastern part of the diocese. “I think from the lake and anywhere else, one will see that cross and, hopefully, their spirits will be lifted up.”

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