SEMINOLE HEIGHTS, Fla. - When the Seminole Heights Baptist Church was demolished last summer, not all of it disappeared forever. Part of the steeple still stands, just in a different place and in a different capacity. A local artist transformed it into a beautiful work of art with a special meaning.
For more than 70 years, Seminole Heights Baptist Church stood as a landmark, a guide, a welcome home.
"There is so much history there, from grandparents getting married to parents getting married in the church," Stan Lasater told FOX 13 back in July.
But when the building sold with plans for it to be demolished, neighbors fought to save it - or at least part of it.
"We felt it was really important, as our neighborhood changes, to hold onto those kinds of things that give you a sense of home," shared Melissa Deming, owner of Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe.
Though it was impossible to preserve the whole steeple, crews carefully lowered and moved the 43-foot, 55,000-pound spire from Hillsborough Avenue to Nebraska Avenue, southwest of Ella's. Deming called on artist Jennifer Kosharek after admiring her mural in St. Pete.
"She just called me, 'hey, would you like to paint a steeple?' And I was like, well, that's an odd request. But yes!" said Kosharek.
This month, she grabbed some black spray paint. And with the help of a bucket lift, she let her creativity soar to new heights.
"The way that I work is called freestyle," Kosharek explained. "The art happens in the moment."
She said each of the four sides of the spire tell different stories. "Just the story of how life has trials and we've all had losses throughout the past couple of years," Kosharek said. "The bad things that you've been through have put you through a fiery trial but have brought you to a place where you're a better person. So, that's the hope I have with that piece."
On Kosharek Art's Facebook page, Jennifer posted a detailed explanation of her design.
After spending more than seven decades at the top of a steeple, this spire gets a second chance to inspire at ground level.
"I just hope they're proud of their neighborhood," Kosharek stated. "I hope they're proud of Ella's and Melissa for recovering the steeple."
"I'm incredibly grateful it was spared the wrecking ball and it has a new home," Deming said. "This is a really diverse neighborhood and whether you're religious or not, I think it meant a lot to a lot of different people."
You can check out this spire on Nebraska Avenue, about a quarter-mile south of Hillsborough Avenue.
This is not the final stop for the spire. The goal is to eventually transform it into a larger sculpture and get it up as high as possible.