Cathedral bell tower work needed


To the Editor:
In 1891 St. Marguerite’s Church was replaced with Sacred Heart Cathedral. The bell from St. Marguerite’s, dedicated by Antoine and Marguerite LeClaire for St. Marguerite’s Church, still rests quietly in the cathedral’s bell tower.
I have had the privilege of climbing inside the bell tower and steeple to help Jim Carter solve various maintenance issues. Jim does an admirable job taking care of the cathedral properties, but one person cannot do the impossible. Sacred Heart Parish should not be expected to finance and/or perform major maintenance for the Cathe­dral of the Diocese of Davenport.
On a recent climb, I observed the severe deterioration of the exterior masonry joints. Rainwater easily penetrates the masonry walls. Without appropriate tuck-pointing, the resulting damage from freeze-thaw will accelerate and our beautiful cathedral will quickly show extensive and permanent damage.
Recently, necessary masonry work was performed at First Pres­by­terian Church and St. John Methodist Church in Dav­enport. The foresight of those churches to protect their beautiful structures will reduce long-term maintenance costs. I think it is the diocese’s responsibility to finance and perform the required maintenance on their cathedral instead of worrying about a new community center. If the cathedral masonry is not repaired now, there will be no need for the community center.
William Ashton

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