The wind was blowing from the north-northwest at The Spire Center downtown on Friday afternoon, and for the first time in a long while, people walking by could use the weathervane atop it to determine its direction.

To the tune of Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” blaring from loudspeakers at street level, Ricky Lynn placed the vane he had crafted for four months on top of the venue’s steeple.  

As Lynn approached the towering structure in a basket above a 135-foot boom lift, the scene was a little bit like watching a space craft docking. Maybe it was the music from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Lynn built the weathervane at Cenaxo LLC in Willington, Connecticut, using copper, bronze, brass, and gold leaf. It’s nearly five feet tall.

Its placement marked one of the final touches in the restoration of the Spire Center, which dates to 1886 and was at times a Methodist church and a synagogue. The project was partially financed through a $3.6 million grant from the Community Preservation Fund approved in 2022. Two doors and several storm windows will be installed in coming days, completing the work, which began in June of last year.

Ricky Lynn with the weathervane that he spent four months crafting. Credit: (Photo by Wes Ennis)

“Historic preservation has an economic value to it,” said the former chair of the committee, Bill Keohan, after he watched the crowning of the Spire Center from a busy Court Street. The building, bought by the town with an earlier grant from the Community Preservation Fund, has attracted people to downtown and its restaurants on the many nights when it hosts a performance.  

“We do a lot of jobs where you kind of shake hands and it’s over,” said Dave Schwartzman, partner at his family’s Brookline-based firm, ZVI Construction, the company that did much of the work. This job was not one of those, he said, noting that the cooperation between ZVI, Spencer Preservation Group, and the Greater Plymouth Performance Center, which leases and runs the Spire Center. The group held its 50th and final weekly construction meeting this week.

A close-up view of the new weathervane. Credit: (Photo by Wes Ennis)

ZVI had two crews and more than 30 people working on the Spire Center restoration. In all, more than 100 people worked on the project, including those who did the millwork at a shop in Dartmouth and another in Oregon, along with specialists who restored the stained-glass windows, and those who worked on the cresting on the roof, which came from New York. The one-inch-thick pine boards used in the project came from Cape Cod.  

The weathervane was copied from an architectural rendering of the lost original. That rendering is now stored at Pilgrim Hall.

The Spire Center has come a long way from the broken glass and sawed-off moldings its restorers first encountered. Beyond the cosmetic work, the structural integrity of the building had to be maintained. It had moved, and the inside plaster was detaching and cracking. The structure around the belfry was rotted, so it was reinforced with steel.  

Passersby and downtown workers gathered to watch the weathervane being installed Friday afternoon. Credit: (Photo by Wes Ennis)

Before the weathervane was installed, a team from ZVI built a mockup to see how it would fit. Historic preservation consultant Lynne Spencer called it an “exacting” process.  

Town Meeting set up a capital improvement fund to make sure there are enough funds for the continued upkeep of the restored Spire Center. One dollar from each ticket sale from performances at the center goes into the fund, as well as one percent of total revenue.  

Fred Thys can be reached at

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