FARMINGTON — A 3,000-pound bronze bell is back in the tower of Old South Congregational Church on Main Street.
The bell was removed in August and shipped to Ohio for repairs. Steeplejacks put the bell back Tuesday, and after making adjustments, tested it Wednesday afternoon.
Steeplejack Dean Pelotte pulled the rope inside the tower making the bell swing back and forth, a significant effort with 1½ tons of bronze.
Church members can ring the bell Sunday morning prior to the service, using a rope dangling to the ground and attached to a metal clapper inside the bell.
Steeplejack foreman Andrew Wilcox of Waterville noted that it should be easier than moving the entire bell.
The bell restoration project was enlarged as parishioners realized the slate roofing on both towers of the church also needed repair.
Steeplejacks from Mid-Maine Restoration of Boothbay have worked the past few weeks replacing the original slate. Over time, water has worked its way under the slate, Wilcox said.
Co-workers Nick Gustafson of Portland and Pelotte of Waterville worked on finishing touches Wednesday. The project is expected to be completed Thursday.
The bell was given to the church in 1888 after the church's first bell melted in The Great Fire of 1886. The fire destroyed the church along with most of downtown Farmington.
The new church was dedicated in 1888 but without a bell to ring in the new era, church member Marilyn Hylan previously said. The bronze bell was a gift from Thomas Blake of Boston.
The Meneely Bell from Troy, N.Y., has a diameter of 53 inches and an attached wooden wheel with a diameter of 8 feet. It was in good shape but the tolling arm was cracked and broken and the yoke that holds the bell had deteriorated.
Church members were not interested in replacing the bell with an electronic ringer and spent more than a year gathering information and raising about $30,000 to have the bell restored, Hylan said.