In October 1949, a violent wind storm damaged the steeple and caused county supervisors to deem it unsafe. The steeple, along with four ornamental cornices, was torn down.
The decision grated on Bruce Gobble and on his son, Lee. Lee Gobble spent years campaigning to raise enough money to put the steeple back, and this year his efforts finally paid off.
Gobble, now 89, remembered his father's desire to replace the steeple at a ceremony held Thursday morning to mark the raising of the new steeple. "I think I can hear him right now," Gobble said. "'A good job, but it sure took you long enough.'"
Gobble told an audience assembled in the parking lot west of the courthouse that getting the steeple back on top of the courthouse has been a community project, and one he hopes former Fairfielders and Parsons College alumni across the country will find out about.
The steeple weighs 7 1/2 tons and brings the total height of the courthouse to about 180 feet.
Jefferson County Supervisor Dick Reed told the audience that Gobble's fund raising campaign had finally broken the $50,000 mark, and that he was hoping to raise still more money to replace the rest of the courthouse's original ornamentation. He talked about the work that was done recently on the courthouse roof, saying that although the building no longer has a leaky roof, "this is icing on the cake. But who wants a cake without icing?"
Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy said the steeple replacement added to "one of our most cherished buildings" and that the project was "spearheaded by the efforts of one of our most cherished citizens."
Malloy said he hopes the work on the courthouse will be part of an overall renewal, restoration and revival of downtown Fairfield.
For the complete story and photos, read the Nov. 5, 2004 Fairfield Ledger.