The Bell

The bell was added to the tower in 1855, which doubled as the city's fire alarm.  It is the original bell which was purchased by the Ladies Sewing Circle.  The words "Holiness to the Lord," from Zechariah 14:20, are inscribed on its west face. The bell was presented to the church in 1855. When the bell arrived, it is said that Rev. Humphrey exclaimed "Who'd a thought it, stitches bought it!"  It is still an ever-present memorial to the devotion of the pioneer women of our church.


The bell has always been more than simply a means of calling people to church. For many years it served as a city fire alarm and also announced victories during the Civil War.  Today the bell is an important part of our Underground Railroad Tours.  Those who participate in the tour, young and old, are given the opportunity to ring the bell. This act helps transport them to the past in a hands-on way.

The Steeple

Our steeple has been referred to as the crowning glory to Lucas Bradley's architectural masterpiece.  It was inspired by the London steeples of Christopher Wren and James Gibbs.  It was built in four sections, with choice timber from the Manitowoc area, selected by Mr. Bradley.  Rising 140 feet, it is the oldest surviving steeple in Racine. Survival hasn't always been easy for the old bell tower. Over the years it was struck by lightning twice. Most recently, on July 27, 1973. A Racine Fire Department snorkel unit and a 100-foot aerial ladder strained to reach the burning steeple. Members of the Racine Fire Department threaded hoses up the inside of the spire by climbing up thin boards nailed to the steeple walls, which enabled them to put out the fire. Their quick action is credited with saving our beautiful church from deeper destruction. 

The Weather Vane

Since First Presbyterian was completed, in 1852, the weather vane had stood atop the steeple—over the gilded ball. It was removed in 1992, after 140 years, having survived two lightning strikes and a fire. It has been on display in our atrium (since 2013)—in honor of First Presbyterian Church’s 175th anniversary, which was celebrated in 2014. To watch a video of the removal of the weather vane, please click here - courtesy of church member, Bob Johnson.