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St. John’s Cathedral Bells Removed For Refurbishment, Update

Cyd Hoskinson
A crane is used to remove the bells from the bell tower at St Johns Episcopal Cathedral. The bells and their frame weighed around 5 tons.?";

The bell tower atop St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Jacksonville is empty for the first time in nearly a century.

All 10 bells and the frame holding them were taken down Thursday, under the watchful eye of Cathedral Facilities Manager Tim Engemann.

Engemann said, “They’ve been up there since 1921, and it’s time for them to be refurbished and brought into the 21st century.”

Not only will the bells be refinished, says Cathedral Dean Kate Moorehead, they’ll also be wired so they can be controlled electronically rather than manually.

“Which will be exciting,” Moorehead said. “We’ll be able to play music all over downtown. We really haven’t been able to play them adequately for a decade. We’ve tolled them before church, but we haven’t really been playing them.”

Work on the bells is expected to cost around $90,000. The Cathedral hopes to have them back in the bell tower in time for Christmas.


Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.