Back where it belongs

The St. Teresa of Avila Church bell went back to the future Friday.The 1,000-pound bell dates to 19th century Carson City and the old St. Teresa of Avila Church at 511 W. King St., which now is the Brewery Arts Center. Home now is the modern St. Teresa at 3000 N. Lompa Lane, where the bell arrived Friday afternoon, got a bath outside and was wheeled inside. Parishioners, who will enjoy this historic reminder of their heritage when they arrive for services from now on, eventually will see and hear it outside in a small bell tower. But that’s for the future, after some needed fundraising to get the bell to its final location in front of the church.“The bell has been silent for over 10 years, 11 years,” said St. Teresa’s Father Chuck Durante. “Once we get a bell tower, it will be wonderful.”He said the low tower on the grounds will reflect and fit in with the architectural lines of the modern church. Until then, it will be inside before large windows with mountain views as a backdrop in the church gathering area, a large vestibule of the structure.“I think parishioners are excited about it,” the priest said, though not all of them might have heard by Friday that it was coming or would be there this weekend.“The excitement level about the bell is slow-moving, because I don’t think everybody knows it’s happening,” he said. John Shelton, executive director of the BAC, expressed his excitement with his part in making the donation. “Really cool,” he said, calling the bell “the original deal.”Shelton said he never gave a thought to the marketable value of the bell. “That didn’t even cross my mind,” he said. “I think the value of our relationship with the community and the church is worth a lot.”The bell with yoke, stand and clapper weighed about 2,000 pounds, said Joel Brugger of Sheehan Beauchamp Builders, which helped move it to the newer church grounds.The bell from the Troy Bell Foundry in New York was installed, according to a church history, apparently after the third church was built at the King Street site in 1871.The first church built there in 1860 reportedly blew down in 1862 and a second built in 1865 served the small community until 1870, when it was torn down. The third went up and was dedicated in 1871. The 38-inch bronze bell that went there, the history indicates, has two methods of ringing a tone: One by swinging the entire bell causing a bright tone with the clapper; the other using a trolling hammer to evoke a dull tone for more somber occasions.The newer, 950-seat church was built after the older one was deemed too small for the parish in the late 1990s, which resulted in the old church being sold to the Brewery Arts Alliance for performing arts events. The modern church does include historic stained glass windows and treasures from the old church, but until Friday the church history indicated, “the original bell was deemed too difficult to remove from the steeple.”


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