United Methodist sees new bell tower

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— At the corner of Oak and Eighth streets in Steamboat Springs, a newly constructed bell tower signifies the home of the United Methodist Church and is dedicated in the memory of Bob G. Caldwell.

The Rev. Larry Oman said the bell rang at about 10:45 a.m. after Sunday's worship for a bell tower dedication.

Members of the church gathered around the bell and rang it numerous times, he said.

"The bell tower and the bell have been a symbol for the congregation for many, many years," Oman said. "Even our newsletter is called the Bell Tower."

Caldwell, who passed away more than 15 years ago, was never a resident of Steamboat Springs, though his daughter, Camille Fisher, does a lot work for the local church. Fisher and her family take care of landscaping at the church.

Fisher said her mother, Helen Caldwell Bowen, a Methodist who lives in Atlanta and Key Largo, Fla., wanted to do something special for the Steamboat church, and she decided to donate a large sum of money toward the construction of the bell tower.

The tower, in turn, was dedicated in the memory of Fisher's father.

"My father was very involved in the community and had great faith. That's why my mom thought he would enjoy this," Fisher said.

Construction on the bell tower cost $16,861.

Robert Hawkins was the architect who designed the brick and rock structure.

In 1884, the Union Church, consisting of multiple denominations, housed the bell on Pine Street.

The church was turned into a library the Dennison Library and then quickly demolished.

After United Methodist Church was built on the corner of Oak and Eighth streets in 1901, Methodists purchased the bell and a bell tower was constructed in 1910.

Oman said three years ago additions and renovations were made to the church, but people were complaining about the bell tower's state.

"The tower was shabby and rusted. People felt they needed to improve the bell because it is such a symbol for the church," Oman said.

Construction began on the new bell tower in late spring and was dedicated Sunday.

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