Friday, February 1, 2008

The Hidden Treasures of St. Paul, Norwalk

Yesterday i had the opportunity to go up in the bell tower at St. Paul's here in Norwalk.

First let's start off with the windows you pass on the way up. The two big windows in the center of the picture above are what i will have pictured here.
With exception to the Sanctuary windows, and the windows in the sacristy, these are the only other original windows in the place. (remember, everything was replaced by those horrid beer bottle fragments) These windows aren't much exciting, but they were still way more than i expected, especially in a place where no one can see them, and you can't make out detail from the outside.
(at one point in time, the room that the large window is in probably housed the blower for the old organ, maybe could have been visible from inside the church? no one really seems to know...)

The organ was where that crucifix (that should be in the front of the church) is. Now there is a ventilation system behind that wall. Behind the vent system, is a ladder, then the window.
moving on up...we pass the top of the main window. Not sure if there is any symbolism in it, but still a nice mix of colors.
The next room we come to houses that top window. Again, makes you wonder why they replaced the windows in the church, when they had windows similar to this.

Now onto the bells.
They have 10 bells. The three swinging ones are the ones they normally use. The others are rarely, if ever used. Maybe Christmas and Easter. Glorious sound, another pity that they aren't used as much. This photo was taken sometime before they were installed around 1906-07.

These three are the ones they mainly use.

The rest hang, and are rang by clapper only. All motorized now, of course.

Of course i have many more pictures. If you are interested in more, please let me know.


Jeffrey Smith said...

Of course, we're interested.
Do the bells have names?
That pink color, in the windows, shows up in a few churches in the area, but I can't remember seeing it used anywhere else.

Jeffrey Smith said...

After a night of toking and listening to Janis Joplin?

Alex Fries said...

sometime between later 1965 and 1970 something. Not quite sure. I'm going to the library today, i'll find out stuff while i'm researching.

I'll post more pictures of the bells later.

Alex Fries said... does. see it's not longer a choir loft. the original loft was about 5x smaller. when the church was wreckovated, it was expanded to the size it is now.

Alex Fries said...

many of the parishioners feel that it sucks, but so much money is devoted to other things there, that it will probably never happen in the near future. They are more concerned with building a weight room all the sports. Yeah, like that's important. The biggest thing they want to do is move the tabernacle back into the sanctuary. Since it's currently stuffed in the choir corner.

Jeff:, they don't have names, just who they're dedicated to/bought buy.

benrr101 said...

I didn't realize that the 'good' bells are still swinging. After watching the Dirty Jobs episode where Mike goes into the bell tower, I figured all bells today (except Mount Hope in Shiloh (Lutheran...) which still uses human power to ring bells) swing no more.

I do know however that they don't ever use the stationary bells. At Easter Vigil mass (which is supposed to be the climax of the church year) only used the big three, which I believe is all there is tollers for. The last time I heard those bells ring was during this past fall when there was some sort of renovation going on... They didn't seem to have a very rich sound, like cheap metal. But they rang pretty clear through Psych and Sosch class.

It would be nice if they kept the original windows if they're as nice as the others you photoed. And they defiantly need to re-do the organ. It just looks as if the pipes are just randomly thrown in there, it makes me wonder if they're really in tune.


mlec91283 said...

Hello - I came across this blog because I'm interested in historical church architecture; also, I have relatives who attend the church (but I'm from CT). Anyway, I had seen pictures of the altar area and it looked fine, but your photos are the first I've seen of the entire nave. It's awful, and I can't believe the general parish community approved of the plans. However, I've heard that St. Paul is thinking about making interior repairs in the future; perhaps there is a parishioner on here who can direct them to change the windows back to the original or much more historically correct theme; repaint the interior; and fix-up the sanctuary. Also, up in the choir loft, couldn't they re-open that arch where the crucifix is to showcase the window that's in there? Maybe put a few facade organ pipes (ones that don't work, just for show) to dispel the feeling that it's a movie theater? My church has something similar, since the organ pipes are located behind the upper walls (my church was built in 1907 - so no wreckovation there). Thanks!