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By Dan Rudy 

First Presbyterian cross comes down


Dan Rudy/ Wrangell Sentinel

From the end of a hydraulic lift, Dustin Villers helps guide the cross topping First Presbyterian Church up from its steeple Tuesday morning. Surviving the fire which destroyed the original church building in 1930, the more than 130-year-old cross was equipped with neon lighting in order to act as a beacon for ships at sea. Now in a state beyond repair, the old cross will be replaced with a new one when repairs to the church roof are completed this fall.

It had risen above Wrangell's rooftops for well over a century, acting as a beacon both to Sunday-morning parishioners and ships at sea alike. Now, no more.

On Tuesday morning, a hydraulic lift run by Johnson Construction hoisted the neon cross from First Presbyterian's roof for the last time.

"The ships used to use it as a beacon," said Nancy Barlow, who manages the church's hostel. "It's like a lighthouse."

To her knowledge, the neon cross was only one of two in the world used atop church buildings and noted on charts for navigational purposes. According to a handout detailing the church...

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