An historic bell saved from a now-demolished church is missing and presumed stolen, Gloversville officials say.
The realization that the bell was missing came last week when city officials readied to transfer it to its expected new home, the Fulton County Museum, Mayor Dayton King said Monday.
But when they went to look for the bell, it was gone, triggering a police investigation.
“We’re going to do the best we can to find this bell from the church,” King said. “I’m certainly disappointed that someone would steal this. If they still have it, I encourage them to return it.”
The bell weighs more than a ton, coming in at 2,300 pounds of brass.
The sheer weight of the bell suggests the theft was more than a one-man job that had to have included heavy equipment, King said.
He said the investigation is including visits to local scrap yards and antiques dealers, noting the bell had value both as scrap and as a historical artifact.
The mayor declined to give specific details, including exactly where it was stored. Police officials couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
“Our intent was to keep it and, when the museum was ready for it, to give it to them,” King said. “Last week they were ready for it.”
That led to the realization Thursday that the bell was missing.
The bell was supposed to be placed on display at a site on the museum’s front lawn, King said.
The bell was made in Troy in 1865. It was removed from the First Baptist Church on South Main Street when it was demolished in 2011.
The church was abandoned by its last congregation in 1998. It was later declared a dangerous building in 2002 when large cracks appeared on the side walls and the roof was compromised.
The city demolished it at a cost of just under $500,000, which was offset by a $434,000 Restore New York grant.