PORTLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Crews using a crane have removed a century-old cast iron bell from a Michigan church as part of a planned restoration project.
The Grand Rapids Press reports community members gathered outside the 170-year-old First Congregational Church in Portland on Wednesday to watch and photograph the effort. It's one of the three churches in Ionia County on the National Register of Historic Places.
The church's 70-foot tall steeple is being taken down. Repeated repairs to the aged structure haven't been able to preserve the steeple.
In 1906, the roughly half-ton bell, cast in Troy, N.Y., was installed using horses, pulleys and rope. It was rung by a rope until last fall, when trustees ordered it silent for safety reasons. The 225-member congregation is putting the bell into storage for now.