Lightning hit Jamestown sandstone church on Sept. 1

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The northeast corner of the bell tower at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was hit with lightning last month, leaving a gap in the turret (the one with the white lines through it). The church is seeking estimates for a repair.

JAMESTOWN – One of the great churches of Western New York that was built with Medina sandstone was hit by lightning on Sept. 1.

The bolt of power took a chunk of sandstone out of a turret in the tower at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown. The church has taped off a section near the tower, warning pedestrians of danger from up high.

I encountered this church on Sunday while in Jamestown. It is an impressive structure. This is the first Medina sandstone church that I’ve seen with a four-faced clock tower up high. It’s Jamestown’s version of Big Ben.

But the lightning strike causing some electrical problems that stopped the clock at 5:50 p.m. The church bells also now malfunction.

The tower is part a magnificent church complex that was built from 1892 to 1894. The church dominates a city block at 410 North Main St.

Linda Dawson, a junior warden at the church, told me St. Luke’s is working with its insurance company to get estimates for the repairs.

The heat from the lightning may have weakened some of the sandstone, causing some of the sand veins to melt in a glass-like material “making the stone more brittle than before the lightning,” she said.

For more on the church building, click here.

The church is located in the heart of Jamestown at 410 North Main St.