Capital Campaign: Tower and Steeple Conservation
The Christ Church steeple dates to 1754 and is one of the few wooden structures of its kind still standing from the Colonial Era.
At this time, Christ Church is challenged by the recent discovery that the steeple leans and needs structural support to endure for centuries more – a complicated process that requires an elaborate scaffolding. To prevent further damage, Christ Church Preservation Trust must act now to preserve the steeple’s dignity.
In March of 2016, Christ Church Preservation Trust commissioned the architectural firm John Milner and Associates and structural engineers Keast & Hood to restore and rehabilitate the steeple and its supporting tower. This project is based on raising $1.6 million in capital contributions. To date, $705,000 in project funding has been committed by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The National Fund for Sacred Places, The Raynier Foundation, The Crystal Trust, The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, William B. Dietrich Foundation and major individual donors.
Please help us conserve this national icon! You can donate here.
Capital Campaign: Pipe Organ
For eight decades, portions of our most recent organ were located in the steeple tower and basement. The placement exposed the instrument to elements that caused irreparable damage.
Christ Church Preservation Trust has contracted C.B. Fisk Organ Builders of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to design a pipe organ, and build it into a restored 1836 organ case. By placing the instrument of 49 stops and 3,099 pipes within the church sanctuary, the Trust will be able to close the steeple tower, further protecting its preservation work.
Unlike mass-produced organs that rely on electricity to create sound, handcrafted pipe organs send pressurized air through pipes operated by a keyboard. Each pipe offers its own unique sound, a pitch that artisans “voice” through a laborious and timely tuning process. Fisk craftspeople will bring the organ to us in August of 2017 and spend several months here as they voice the instrument. To ensure that our space can best highlight the organ’s features, Philadelphia’s most renowned preservation architects are making historically sensitive acoustical improvements to the sanctuary. We will dedicate the new organ in 2018.
Christ Church and the Christ Church Preservation Trust have raised $2.8 million for this new organ, a unique instrument to our region and an ideal educational tool. Please consider helping us by donating here.
Burial Ground Maintenance and Preservation
The Burial Ground was closed to the public from 1977 through 2003. In 2002, Christ Church Preservation Trust undertook a major program of renovation to reopen the site to the public. Projects included restoring 150 grave markers (many by pinning and mortaring broken pieces) and rebuilding parts of the exterior brick wall (first constructed in 1772). Landscapers tended the overgrown grounds, removing ivy, pruning trees, creating new paths and installing turf.
The Trust also expanded its tourism program from Christ Church to the Christ Church Burial Ground, writing and implementing an interpretative program. Admission costs offset tour guide pay and contribute to ongoing preservation, an expensive task as realized by our recent Benjamin Franklin grave marker restoration project.
If you would like to contribute to Burial Ground preservation work, perhaps by contributing to the care of a specific grave marker or cause such as our current effort to restore the Arch Street gates, please contact Burial Ground Manager John Hopkins or donate here.