The Cupolas




The five new stainless steel cupolas installed in August 1976 were designed and built by our Greek Orthodox friend Pete J. Keffalas of R.D. 3, Butler, Pennsylvania.


Initially it was intended to restore the large cupola in its original size, however, it had deteriorated severely, and upon further inspection, it was determined that restoration would be impractical. Therefore, the decision was made to design and construct a new and larger one of stainless steel.The committee then approached Pete J. Keffalas, a local contractor and generous Greek Orthodox friend. He agreed to design and construct new cupolas, and in August of 1976 these new cupolas were installed. The large one is an eight-sided polygon with the trinity placed on each side of the polygon. It is approximately thirty-two (32’) feet (9.75 m) high to the tip of the cross, thirteen (13’) feet (3.96 m) wide and weighs 4,000 pounds (4’514.37 kg). To keep such a large hollow dome rigid, it was necessary to rest this cupola on an elaborate structural steel base to be anchored to the roof trusses. It was also necessary to reinforce that portion of the roof structure directly beneath the cupola supports to hold the additional weight. An access hatch was provided in the roof for periodic inspections and repairs. It was necessary to fabricate this cupola in three sections to facilitate transportation and erection.


For the other four cupolas, the design and dimension was kept as near to the original cupolas as possible. The cupola on the steeple is ten feet (3.04 m) high and the three other cupolas at the lower elevation are of the same design but not as high.


All of the stainless steel for the cupolas was donated by Armco. They were fabricated from eighteen gauge (0.05 inches [1.422 cm]) stainless with a type 2B finish on the external or exposed surfaces. The four smaller ones are self-supporting, having no additional structure or roof supports. All of these cupolas act as giant lightning rods since they are of all-welded construction and any electrical charge is easily conducted to the ground.


The cupolas were fabricated and erected by the employees of Pete J. Keffalas under his direct supervision and artistic talent and were given as a gift to the parish by Mr. and Mrs. Pete J. Keffalas and his three sons.


This article was taken, and edited, from the 75th Anniversary book published in 1981.

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