Old Town’s San Felipe de Neri Church steeples to be restored

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Visitors to Albuquerque’s Old Town on Monday may not have noticed something is missing from their pictures.

“The San Felipe Church is probably one of the most recognizable icons of the city,” said Edgar Romero-Ramos, a History and Museum Studies student at UNM.

At the top of the bell towers, the crosses are gone.

“Although it’s just a building, for us here in this community, it’s so much more,” said Romero-Ramos. 

Romero-Ramos knows San Felipe de Neri inside and out.

“(It) explains, kind of, where we came from and really helps us to understand, more so who we are as a people,” said Romero-Ramos. 

He says he noticed something was off – at the top of the church – months ago.

“The cupolas are actually the towers right above it. Just the white parts,” Romero-Ramos said. 

Deacon Tom Perez showed KOB 4 how the elements have worn away the wood.

On Sunday, the Bernalillo County Fire Department helped remove the crosses in fear they could fall and injure someone.

Perez says the entire cupolas will have to come down and be restored.

“I’m just pleased that we got them down, but at the same time emotional. Because I touch them, this is to me, many years of history, you know, here in the church,” said Perez. 

“It helps us to really reflect on how we have developed over time and how certain things have affected the development of our community,” said Romero-Ramos.

Now, they are raising funds to keep one of the oldest buildings in the state looking like it has for hundreds of years.

“It’s not really mine, or our parish, or our steeples. It’s really – I feel – is the community,” said Perez. 

The Historic Old Town Associations has set up a GoFundMe page for funds that will specifically go toward the cupola restoration.