New matching grant to provide $500k for church tower fix

A foundation has offered a $500,000 challenge grant to a local group trying to preserve a historic Columbus church clock tower.

The Jeffris Family Foundation based in Janesville, Wisconsin has offered a $1 match for every $2 pledged for the project to repair the tower at First Christian Church.

The Foundation focuses on projects of national significance in smaller communities in the Midwest. The tower would be the 11th National Historic Landmarks preservation project for the foundation.

The church tower, along with the church, was designed by Eliel Saarinen, in 1942. Since then it has had four major renovations, the last in 1976. Repair costs are estimated at $2.4 million.

The church, with its iconic tower, was the first Modernist architecture project in Columbus.

First Christian Church will be kicking of its local fundraising efforts to save the church tower with an event Wednesday.

The Save Our Tower Campaign event will be at 4 on Wednesday at the church at 531 Fifth Street. It will include a presentation on the church history and a guided architecture tour of the church by J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program Director T. Kelly Wilson.