Despite the onset of COVID 19, the project has continued to progress.
What has been done:
- BRICK WORK: Brick repair was done to the most damaged areas of the east façade. Some bricks were removed and replaced. Amazingly, the new bricks were made by a local manufacture who uses clay from the same quarry as the original brick manufacture. Mortar was selected to match the current mortar in place.
- TOWER WINDOW REPAIRS: The contractors discovered that most of the window frames required major repair. Mike Oades of J Michael Design contracted to repair or replace the stained glass in some of the tower windows, only to discover that extensive asbestos in the glazing putty and sealants necessitated hazardous materials abatement. Windows in the east face of the tower were repaired and restored.
- TERRA COTTA CREATION: The terra cotta was created by Darwen Terracotta and Faience of Blackburn, England. This was done to specific measurements and color specifications requested by our team. The manufacturing was accomplished in one firing to assure better consistency . The terra cotta was shipped and arrived in February, just on the eve of work shutdown due to COVID-19.
- ARMATURE FOR HOLDING TERRA COTTA: The House of Stainless in Gardena built the large stainless-steel structure to hold the window and support the surround of terra cotta.Its expansion capabilities were designed to be compatible with the masonry. It was also painted for extra protection from corrosion. The steel window frame arrived and was placed in a fenced-off portion of the Potholder Restaurant parking lot. Its final assembly and the attachment of anchor clips for the terra cotta occurred on site. Before the installation, our contractor performed a dry fitting of the terra cotta. Darwen’s terra cotta was found to be perfectly accurate and an excellent fit to the ring.
- INSTALLATION OF THE ARMATURE: Permits were obtained from Long Beach City to temporarily close Cedar Avenue, and a crane was hired to install the metal ring of the Rose window. Preparations for the event included waterproofing the Rose window exterior, adding supports to the armature to prevent it from bending during the lift, and rearranging the scaffolding to accommodate the activity. On June 29, the crane hoisted the stainless-steel armature into place on the window wall. After adjusting it and temporarily securing it into place, holes in the masonry were drilled for the anchors and inspected. Eighteen-inch stainless steel anchors with epoxy resin were placed around the entire window to secure it to the wall.
What is next:
- Terra cotta will be installed around the Rose window on the east façade. A minor amount of terra cotta repair/replacement will be done on the north façade.
- The stained-glass of the Rose window will be installed. A ticketed online live event is planned for the placement of some of the final pieces of glass. Further details will be coming soon.
- The scaffolding will be removed and the project complete. The goal is for September 31.
Keeping First Church beautiful so it can serve Long Beach for least another 100 years has been the driving impetus behind the preservation of this special building. At the outset, none of the church membership had any idea of just how to tackle the challenge to conserve this important piece of Long Beach history. But the congregation felt the responsibility and persevered. Once underway, the project has been at the same time educational, overwhelming, intense, and downright exciting. The first phase, preserving the East façade, is almost done. We are counting down to the days to the final step: re-installation of the magnificent and unique restored rose window. This will be a thrilling moment for anyone who loves our beautiful city and values preserving its history. If being a part of the preservation of this Long Beach icon has value to you and if you would like to participate in its ongoing preservation, please visit the donation page on this website for more information about how to help.