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Let it breathe

Future phase of Trinity restoration will include stucco replacement


Work continues on Trinity Episcopal Church, and the next phase, after the work to stabilize the steeple, will concentrate on replacing the church’s exterior stucco, according to Mike Bedenbaugh, president and CEO of Preservation South Carolina.


Preservation South Carolina is working with the Friends of Trinity and the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Upper South Carolina to restore the church.


Bedenbaugh emphasized that the stucco work will be contingent on the raising of the money necessary to perform the work, and it will not be cheap.


The phase will cost about one million dollars, and will include getting rid of the Portland cement which was placed on the church in the 1970s, and replacing it with “traditional lime-based mortar.”


Portland cement, in effect, suffocates the church building, which was completed on the eve of the Civil War.


“It does not allow the building to breathe,” Bedenbaugh said.


“It locks in the vapor which should be going in and out of the building.”


The lime-based mortar, which will be serving as a replacement, meanwhile, will be painted the original color of the church when the church opened.


It will be slightly darker than the stucco on the church now.


“Darker and richer,” said Bedenbaugh. “It’s really a beautiful color.”


All the while, the fundraising effort continues.


“Our active fundraising is ongoing,” he said, welcoming people to visit www.restoretrinity.org.


In addition to the exterior stucco, the church’s windows have to be worked on, the organ needs to be repaired, and some electrical work needs to be done.


“We have utilized $1.2 million,” he said of the fundraising so far.


About $800,000 has been raised so far, and an anonymous donor contributed $400,000. Fundraising for the stucco phase has not yet begun, he said.


Preservation South Carolina joined the restoration effort in 2018, and is currently leasing the Trinity Episcopal Church building from the diocese.


The restoration process has brought with it improved safety concerning the building’s stability, and its congregation is now worshiping inside the structure.


Highlighted by its Gothic revival architecture, the church is admired for its beauty, and is the subject of countless photographs.



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