insights

A new bell tower makes history for Marietta, Georgia

For sixty years, the members of the Marietta First Baptist Church have hoped to rebuild their historic bell tower, which had been condemned and demolished in 1962. Their memory of the church’s full beauty became a vision for the future, passed on to new generations.

Now, their dream is becoming a reality: a beautiful new bell tower rises over the Marietta First Baptist Church once again.

Willett Engineering, a Gray Company, has been privileged to play a role in bringing this vision to life.

 

The tower was constructed in sections, with the tower portion built in place while the spire was built on the ground and raised into place via crane. Willett structural engineer Kailee Garrett, EIT, provided cold-formed steel design as well as erection engineering for the process of lifting the spire into place.

 

 

“The biggest challenge was that we needed really strong steel members to withstand the lift, but they also needed to be fully hidden inside the spire, so that they wouldn’t interrupt the beautiful aesthetic,” Kailee said. “It was a very unique and exciting project to work on.”

 

Members of the community gathered in the Marietta Square for the dramatic raising of the spire. Passersby stopped to watch the impressive feat as well.

 

General contractor Marietta Drywall selected Willett Engineering because of our expertise in cold-formed steel design and erection engineering.

 

The end result is nothing short of inspiring.

The tower is attached to the chapel, the church’s original sanctuary, in the same place where the original bell tower stood from 1897 to 1962.

While the original bell tower never actually had a bell, the new tower will host an electronic carillon (bell system) with a pristine sound.

Members of the church and the surrounding community look forward to hearing the bells ring out over the historic Marietta town square.

President and Principal Engineer Mac Willett expressed his pride in the project. “We are proud of every one of our projects, big or small, but it is a particular joy to participate in a project that carries so much meaning for a community,” Mac said.

 

Willett Engineering is a Gray company.

Willett Engineering is a structural analysis and design company offering best-in-class development for industrial projects, educational facilities, offices, retail buildings, steel erection, and more. In 2018, Willett joined the Gray family of brands to complement its structural engineering services. As a Gray company, Willett continues to combine excellence in engineering with collaborative solutions, using the latest in technology and design.