WATERVLIET, N.Y. - Some of those who attended a flashlight vigil for St. Patrick's Church Sunday night clung to a small remainder of hope as the bell tower still stood, despite crews' attempts to take down the structure tower on multiple occasions last week.
To many people, it was more than just a church. It was a place where they grew up, were married, met friends and found faith. Many of those who attended the vigil were still not ready to let go of St. Patrick's.
"It's emotional; it's part of your life," said Sandy Borowsky of Watervliet.
As Beethoven played in the background dozens of residents and former parishioners shined their flashlights on the church's bell tower, saying goodbye but also hoping that "she," as some call the church, would once again stand strong. Last week cables broke two days in a row as crews tried to tear the lasting bell tower down.
"They should have at least tried to save the bell tower," Borowsky said. "I mean, god showed them that it was not going to come down."
It has been a long road to demolition for St. Patrick's Church. Citizens for St. Patrick's have been fighting to save it with lawsuits, protests, prayer vigils and now a flashlight vigil to pay their final respects to the historical church.
"It's a landmark for Watervliet and it should have never been touched," said former parishioner Donna Wilkinson of the city.
As lights lit up the remaining architecture for the last time there were memories of times had and sadness that the journey to save her is over.
"She shouldn't go down alone tomorrow and we need to pay tribute to her because she's meant so much to so many people over 150 years," said Angela Mastan, a member of Citizens for St. Patrick's.
"It brings back so many memories, you know, a lot of people I knew that were buried from here," said Wilkinson.
The bell tower is expected to be taken down on Wednesday. Nigro Companies, who will be developing a Price Chopper at the former site of the church, says it will continue to lay a pile of bricks outside the property for people to keep as mementos of the structure that stood in the city for so many years.