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Chapel history

Friends of the Chapel

First Church of Lombard

Map  -  location & parking





In the last three severe storms (windstorms in June 2011 & July 2010, and the "great blizzard" of February 2011), large portions of the chapel roof were torn off.  As a result of the damage from the July 2010 windstorm, we had a bad leak, and water all over the Reade Room.

Research determined that the roof was last redone in 1988 with shingles that had a 20-year warranty.  So the calendar also confirms that it is time to do this.


Work Completed!

Work was begun October 10th, and completed December 14th.

The Job Itself

A wise move was to have the chimney restored  -  tuck-pointing and brick replacement  -   in coordination with this job.  For one thing, tuck-pointing can be a messy job, so that mess was made on the old roofing which was then removed.  Furthermore, a hydraulic lift was rented by the roofer in order to do the steeple, and even though it was needed for 3 days, the weekly rental rate was the most economical.  Allowing the mason to share this lift saved the money of him having to set up an extensive scaffolding system.

The work on the roof was begun on the west side, working from south (over the Reade Room) to north.  The reason for this was in order to coordinate with the mason, the work was done away from the chimney so the mason could begin work later.

Work began on the east side about October 18th, and the mason began work (and the hydraulic lift was brought in) about October 20th.  The chimney was completed October 28th.

The most daunting part of this job was the steeple.  It was covered with the same roofing material and must be done at this time also.. It’s not just the 110’ height, but that it is so much more of a piece-by-piece manual operation.  The basic shape of the steeple is kind of an 8-point star (each of the white wood strips being a point of the star), so every single shingle has to be cut to fit and nailed on by hand.  And what really threw things off was that November 2011 was one of the windiest in Chicago history.  Even in a 15 MPH wind, the worker's basket on the hydraulic lift would sway up to 3', making it impossible to work, and a danger that the basket would slam into the steeple.



Here is a section of the steeple with the old
shingles on the left and the new shingles on
the right.  Note the metal over the wood strips.

One pro-active thing we did was covering those white wood strips with metal.  This will greatly reduce the cost of painting the building in the future, because the greatest working height will be reduced from 110’ to 70’, so a smaller hydraulic lift can be used.  (The exposed surface of the cross is fiberglass, so that already does not need painting.)

We will also used “architectural shingles” which more closely resemble the wood shakes that originally covered the roof.  We will use so-called “lifetime” shingles.  We don’t believe for one second that there is such a thing as roofing that lasts that long, but practically speaking, we might be able to expect the roof to last 50 years (instead of 20 like the last one).

So while this is a huge and costly project, it is one that most of us will never face again in our lifetimes, and will return the chapel to a more authentic look.