LONG BEACH, Calif. – The scaffolding has been up for more than a year, but the First Congregational Church has been in downtown Long Beach since 1914.
Pamela Chapin is a member who joined in the late 1970's while attending California State University Long Beach.
“The music program here is what brought me here, but it’s all the other stuff that’s kept me here,” said Chapin.
About three years ago, the church decided to remove and restore the stained glass on the east facade.
The glass was dirty and had holes in it. Before they could put the windows back, they realized how much work really needed to be done. They found long vertical cracks in the terra cotta.
It’s now a $2 million restoration project. They’ve gotten grants and are still fundraising the rest.
They hope to finish by next summer.
Technical consultant John Fidler is trying to keep as many of the original decorative pieces as possible. What can’t be kept will be replicated.
“It’s a little young from my perspective because in England, I looked after Stonehenge and ruined abbeys and castles, medieval buildings, Hadrian’s Wall from the third century,” said Fidler.
Chapin says the church is the oldest standing church structure in the city of Long Beach.
For more information on the church's restoration, click here.