Today was a milestone in the conversion of the historic Cumberland Church into a center for community events on the east side of old Albany: The steeple was put back on.
The steeple had been taken off in order to move the old church building to its new site late in 2021. In recent weeks the steeple was repaired, reinforced and repainted.
This morning a crew from the Forslund company in Albany lifted it back into place as a handful of spectators lined Santiam Road to watch.
Here’s what it looked like:
Eventually, the plan is to put the bell back into the steeple. The bell is being stored by the City of Albany, which had removed it for safety reasons shortly after the city bought the 1892 church building in 2000 to make room for a road project.
The road project plans were changed, making the church property at Santiam Road and Main Steet surplus. The city sold the old church to the Cumberland Community Events Center, which purchased some city-owned property at Santiam Road and Pine Street and had the building moved there.
Joel Orton, vice president of the volunteer group, said they hope to repair and repaint the outside of the building by the end of this year.
They’ve already done a good deal of demolition to reveal the original shape of the space inside. The plan is to add a wing, along with parking, and then to make the place available for community events, as the name implies. (hh)