Monday, January 11, 2016

The Word on the Steeple

Gossips' quest to learn when the steeple on the church at 448 Warren Street--originally the Universalist Church and later the United Methodist Church--was been removed came to a satisfactory end today, thanks primarily to Bruce Mitchinson. This morning, Mitchinson sent Gossips these two newspaper clippings.

Neither clipping was dated, but Mitchinson remembered that the steeple was removed sometime in the 1970s. An ad that appeared on the back of one of clippings helped him narrow it down. The ad announced the holiday hours of Ron Kay Pastry Shop at 413 Warren Street: "Closed Dec. 25, 26. Reopening Monday, Dec. 27." Christmas fell on a Saturday twice in the 1970s: in 1971 and 1976.

On the back of the other clipping was a snippet of a report about a Common Council meeting at which the principal topic of discussion seemed to have been water rates. The aldermen mentioned in the excerpt were Ben Murell, George Havlik, LaCasse (whose first name was not given), John Caggianelli, and J. Neill Sullivan.

This afternoon, Gossips headed to City Hall to take a look at the Common Council minutes for December 1971 and December 1976, helpfully provided by Tracy Delaney and her staff in the city clerk's office. It was discovered that on December 15, 1971, there was an emergency meeting of the Common Council to consider, along with two other things, an amendment to the local law regarding water rates. The minutes indicate that aldermen Havlik, LaCasse, Murell, and Speer voted against the amendment; Council president Quigley and aldermen Caggianelli, Cordato, Sullivan, and Torchia voted in favor of the amendment, which was successfully passed with a simple majority. (This was four years before Hudson adopted the weighted vote.) 

In December 1976, none of the aldermen mentioned was still on the Council, and there was no mention of water rates in the minutes for the December meeting.

The obvious conclusion then is that the steeple was removed in December 1971.

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