MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) - The toppled steeple of the First Church of Monson was one of the most famous images from the devastating tornado of June 1, 2011, but now, a new steeple is going up to rise over the historic church.
A large crane has arrived to put up the new steeple at the church, which, despite the obvious damage, remained open in the disaster’s aftermath as a place of refuge and hope.
Church members got some closure Tuesday as they watched the second part of the new steeple being raised into place.
It's been a slow process of rebuilding. The new pieces are exact replicas of the original, damaged pieces, and recreating them has taken longer than expected.
Pastor Bob Marrone estimates the process will take about a week, but that it will take another month or so for the electrical work and installation of the clock and bell to be complete. Still, he's glad that finally, an end is in sight.
"The return of the steeple is symbolic. It's a great moment for us to celebrate moving on from the tornado," Marrone said.
Marrone hopes to have a big dedication of the steeple, bell and clock on the third anniversary of the tornado that caused so much damage.
He's staying positive about the destruction, saying that if nothing else, God is helping the parishioners to learn about patience.
Scroll through the pictures to see the effort to put up the new steeple, and what the church looked like in the aftermath of the tornado.