On Wednesday, March 20, 2019,The Board of Trustees of the First Congregational Church voted unanimously to approve the restoration of Riverside’s famous bell tower. Designed by Myron Hunt and engineered by Henry L.A. Jekel in 1910-11, the tower has long been a prominent symbol of Riverside and is arguably the first example of Spanish Baroque Revival architecture in the United States.
The 105 year old reinforced concrete tower, completed in December of 1913, inspired similar structures throughout the state including the famous California tower and buildings erected for the 1915 Panama -California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park. However, a century of wind, rain, sun and smog has damaged many of the unique decorative elements. Church leaders became aware of the tower’s needs and retained Heritage Architecture and Planning of San Diego to develop a restoration plan. After painstaking analysis, Spectra Company of Pomona was chosen to complete the work. The cost will be $418,937.60. Heritage Architecture is famous for restoration planning and Spectra is one of the premier companies that specialize in complex restoration work. Funded by Beacon of Hope campaign and other financing, work is expected to begin this Summer.
Church Porch & Bell Tower Restoration & Renovation projects begin June 17 & end November 22. No porch access from June 17 through August 30.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with some of the funding here: https://www.gofundme.com/help-repair-the-bell-tower-at-fcc-riverside