Bell tower sits on top of old Radnor schoolhouse once more

RADNOR TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Under blue skies and sunshine, a bell tower was hoisted off the ground Wednesday, lifted atop the last one room schoolhouse in Radnor Township.

The building has been used by Radnor Troop 284 Boy Scouts since the early 1960s.

"I grew up in this troop. I was the scout master for six years," said Eric Janson as he watched the progress.

Janson is now the president of Friends of Radnor 284.

His sons also went through this troop.

About a year ago, much needed maintenance and construction began on the building.

"While we were doing the construction, we thought 'OK- this is the time to put the bell tower back up,'" Janson said.

Janson explained the bell was stolen years go.

Later, in the early 80s, the tower came down, as it was badly damaged. That tower is now gone, but they do have pictures.

They enlisted architect John Toates to replicate the original. Toates worked with Martin J Cappelletti Custom Builders to see it through.

"John Toates, the architect who is working with the scouts, designed, and we had that custom-made, and we had to prepare the pedestal sitting on that roof. I believe the bell tower weighs about 1,500 pounds," explained Marty Cappelletti.

The building was mostly finished last fall, but they needed the right conditions to raise the tower. They also needed the green light to operate after being sidelined by coronavirus.

"The six weeks we sat out didn't help, but the weather conditions had to be perfect. The ground had to be dry," said Cappelletti.

As for the stolen bell, Janson researched what it would have looked like and took his search online, eventually pinpointing one in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

"In the 60s, they would ring the bell to start the meetings," Janson said.

He added, "We'll probably use it the same way- announce meetings and when we have special events here, we will ring it."
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.