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                        Steeple forms
Beams being measured
                        Southgate ready to get it done
Jay Southgate
Our Mission

At Southgate Steeplejacks our mission is: to preserve New England's steeples for future generations. To accomplish this we use materials and techniques both modern and historic. Whether we are restoring an existing steeple or building a new steeple, we strive to create a product that will survive and perform for 100 years with no maintenance except for painting. Our good name is based on our history of reliability, honesty and fine work at the quoted price. We do not bid low and then raise prices during the job. Our focus is on the steeple project, not a public image burnished by uniforms and logos. We spend time sweating details that will not matter until we are long gone. Our quality remains high whether the work can be inspected or not. We are often amazed by the sloppy repair work done by others before us.

Our contract proposals are detailed analyses of every job so you will understand exactly what we will do. We keep jobsites safe, secure and neat, and we conduct ourselves like professionals. Our list of references is a long one, and includes 13 consecutive contracts at the Vermont State House. We do every aspect of our steeple jobs, so we can control cost, quality and schedule.

Southgate Steeplejacks
279 Websterville Road
Barre, Vermont 05641

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Work: Jay Southgate, Steeplejack 

By Julia Shipley SevenDays

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Our work is usually divided into five parts


The work area is always fenced off, and often sidewalk scaffolding is needed to protect the public from falling objects. The interior access in steeples is frequently atrocious, and we always leave permanent, safe interior access. We work safe, and have been inspected by OSHA twice with no citations. The decision whether to work from ropes or scaffolding depends on the job. Not infrequently, a combination is best.


We can diagnose and repair all structural problems. We often follow the U.S. Secretary of the Interiors guidelines for historic preservation on structural work, using traditional timber framing and epoxy consolidates. We also like to use custom fabricated steel connectors and manufactured products such as Laminated Veneer Lumber. Our creative solutions to problems keeps costs under control.


We have a fully equipped woodshop that allows us to duplicate any wood details, from the smallest dentil work to 12' long turnings. Frequently, only a few feet of any given molding needs to be duplicated, and in this case our ability to make it quick and easy with hand planes on site gives us the edge. If more shop work is required, our facilities allow us to control the price, quality and delivery of products. Our architectural woodwork portfolio includes new doors to the Vermont House and Senate Chambers and furniture at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel along with all the custom work we have made for our steeples.


We like to avoid any roofing that cannot be expected to last 100 years. Therefore we like to use block soldered lead coated copper on shallow slope roofs, and lead coated copper, copper, slate and cedar shingles on spires. Many people do not realize that it is important not only that a roof does not leak, but also that any roof sheds its water so that the water falls free of the building below, and does not course down the walls. Also, flashings and penetrations of any roof are the places that will fail first and require the greatest craftsmanship.