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170-year-old church in New Albany replaces original light fixture missing for 60 years

The congregation and supporters of the 170-year-old Second Baptist Church in New Albany are celebrating the replacement of a piece of their original church that
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 1:14 PM EDT
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NEW ALBANY, In. (WAVE) - The congregation and supporters of the 170-year-old Second Baptist Church in New Albany are celebrating the replacement of a piece of their original church that had been missing for years.

When the church was built in 1852, it included five gasoliers, which were light fixtures that used gas burners instead of light bulbs or candles. Its main feature was the one in the middle of the 20-foot ceilings, but it went missing during a remodel in the 1960s.

”It’s 6 feet across, weighs 300 pounds,” Jerry Finn of the Friends of the Town Clock Church organization said. “The original was solid brass so it’s not something you can just throw in a backpack and walk out the door with and hang in your living room.”

Finn said they have been raising money for years in order to restore the church to its former beauty, when it served as a beacon of hope for people during the Underground Railroad. Since then, it has been known as the Town Clock Church and has held considerable significance for New Albany, according to Finn.

The initial fundraising goal was a few hundred thousand dollars. They ended up raising almost $1 million, which was enough to ultimately replace the gasolier, which is now powered by electricity, as well as repair other deteriorating amenities.

“We want to make sure this church never gets in that condition again,” Finn said. “It’s too important for not only the importance of this community, the metro community, but I think for our country as well when we think about injustice and the need to take a stand for what is right. It’s symbolic.”

Finn said the organization wants to one day get the church included to the National Register of Historic Places.

Learn more about the church here.

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