Next time you walk up to the front of the downtown Church, take a slow, long, look up and study our bell tower. What an amazing work of construction, engineering, and art!
Just a little while ago Steve Spencer and I decided it was time to do something that had been put off for far too long. We went into the tower to clean. There was a screen that was either vandalized by someone trying to get in, or some one trying to get out on to the roof. We’re not sure, but regardless, the loose screen was allowing birds to get in, but not out. Yes, it has been fixed.
There are 5 unique levels to the bell tower. (And in a bit of irony, there are no bells up there.) But I am getting ahead of myself. The first level is the drainage level. Any water that gets in through the long masonry vents makes its way down and is collected at the lower level and is carried out through a floor drain. This level is large and quite comfortable to walk around in.
Level two which you get to via a very tall metal ladder is a bit smaller and the “windows” narrower. The ladders make you feel like you are in an 80’s video game.
Access to level 3 is another metal rung ladder and the passage gets tighter. The reward for making it to here is the chance to see the four HUGE horn speakers that are our “bells”. When I first came to Cathedral of the Rockies, someone told me that the reason the old bell sat in front of the church was that it would not fit up in the tower.The said it was an “oops”. I believed it till I saw level 3. This area was obviously built just for this as the concrete and steel is all perfectly shaped to accept the 4 horns, North, South, East and West.
I was starting to get a bit jittery to go higher, so Steve brought my manhood into question. I had to accept the Triple Dog Dare and go on up.
At level 4 the construction switches to steel I beam and Cinder blocks. A spider web of diagonal rods keep the structure from twisting. It is much smaller in all ways, and now the view begins to get interesting.
The final accessible point is level 5. Very tight, and very interesting. You stand below a metal cap that is the base of the metal top portion of the tower. I was told that the top section is actually the second one, as the first fell during construction.
The view from up there was spectacular. The Cana Chapel looks like you are seeing it from a hot air balloon. Level 5 puts you way, way up there. The roofs of the church seem very small. Boise is even more beautiful from here. The capitol building is visible above the trees. You are above the trees. The foothills seem your equal.
It is an interesting point of view. One that I venture to say, not many have seen. It is proof that most views are seen only from one side, and when we position ourselves on the other side, everything changes. Our impression of our place in the world is forever different. Our size relationship to the community around us changes when we look down from above. Or up from below. How fitting for a Church to remind me that no matter what I think about an issue, a position, or a view, there is another side. And someone looking from that direction back at me.