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St. Paul lifted off roof of Cathedral

The copper statue of St. Paul is removed from the top of Cathedral of the Holy Trinity for the first time since installation 128 years ago.

NEW ULM — The copper statue of St. Paul that stands atop the cupola on the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was removed for restoration Monday.

Schaefer Crane service began taking the statue down around 8:30 a.m. The St. Paul statue was on the ground by 9:30 a.m. Those observing the takedown of the statue were surprised to learn of its size. Published accounts listed the height of the statue as 5 and a half feet tall, but once it was on the ground it was clear St. Paul was taller. The statue stood a foot taller than the workers taking it down.

The statue of St. Paul has stood atop Holy Trinity for 128 years. The statue was donated to the church in 1893. Photos taken after the church’s July 20, 1893 dedication show St. Paul had already been installed over the cupola on the rear of the church.

After over a century, the copper statue has shown some wear and tear. Msgr Douglas Grams said the full extent of the work needed to restore the statue is unknown. Part of the reason the statue was removed it to assess the need for repairs.

Some repair needs were already known. The statue’s feet were removed years ago after breaking free of the main statue. The sword was also removed before the statue came down. Grams said the sword had come off and was breaking away from the statue’s hand. In preparing to take the statue down, work crews discovered the statue also had bullet holes in it.

Schaefer Crane Service brings St. Paul down to the ground. The statue will be placed in storage as work is done on Cathedral’s cupola. The statue will be assessed for needed restoration. St. Paul will, at minimum, require his hand, sword and feet be reattached

In addition to statue repairs, the cupolia overs the apse at Holy Trinity requires repair. St. Paul’s removal coincides with shingle replacement projects on the Cathedral cupola. The cupola over the apse of the Cathedral covers a bell and is made of wood and embossed metal. The structure has deteriorated and needs new metal shingles.

Laraway Roofing has installed metal shingles on the main roof of the Cathedral and is the main contractor for this project. Berwald Roofing and Sheet Metal Company, Inc. is assisting with the removal of the statue and installing metal flat lock panels to the cupola.

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