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Underground Railroad Landmark Restored After 100 Years

A crane lifts the steeple to the top of the church.

Second Baptist Church received a new 65-foot tall steeple today, after a century. A 1915 lightning strike destroyed the original steeple, which was a symbol of hope for runaway slaves in the Civil War era.

Almost 100 New Albany residents watched as a crane lifted the spire onto the church.

The church that represented the divide between freedom and oppression for African-Americans is now a predominantly black Baptist church. Rev. LeRoy Marshall says that it brings him joy to see the project completed after all this time.

“This church is an Underground Railroad site, an Underground Railroad station, so the historical significance…we’ve got a lot of historical people here today,“ Marshall says.

Marshall says that the project would not have been possible without support from the community. He says donors contributed from $3 to $40,000.

Don Fell, Project Manager for Padgett Incorporated, says fundraising efforts brought in a total of $500,000.

“I’ve been working on this, like I said, for the last three months getting everything measured and fabricated and built and installed and to reach this point is just a great feeling,” Fell says.

Officials hope that the new steeple will last for at least the next 100 years.

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