The railings of the 112 year old bell tower of Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral were replaced this month with stainless steel railings that follow the original design of the Cathedral’s architect, Louis Henry Sullivan, thanks to the financial support of many generous donors and the talent and craftsmanship of two former parish members.

Based on archival photos and a watercolor rendering of the Cathedral by Sullivan himself, the building & restoration committee worked with artists Irina & George Tikhonov to create a sketch to scale, a prototype railing, and finally with a few adjustments, the railings were fabricated out of stainless steel and then painted with a primer.

Belltower under construction circa 1903.

Belltower under construction circa 1903.

“Each opening of the bell tower is a different size, so each railing had to be custom fabricated specifically to fit the open space,” said Joseph Mamczij, who oversaw the project.

Over the years, as the original wooden railings began to fail, they were replaced with a simple, solid plywood design.

Deteriorating wood panel railings required replacement.

Deteriorating wood panel railings required replacement.

As these plywood railings began to require repairs and replacement, it was the desire of Holy Trinity’s Building and Restoration Committee to return to the original design intended by Sullivan. [See more about these changes here.]