First Presbyterian Church of Port Gibson

Constructed in 1860, the interior of the Sanctuary measures 66 feet from front to rear, 49 feet from side to side, and 36 feet from the floor to the center of the vaulted ceiling.  The shape of the ceiling provides a perfect acoustic environment for well over 400 people to hear a speaker without any need for electrical amplification.

Much of the interior decoration, including the  brackets underneath the balcony, the moldings around the windows, and the beautiful arch behind the pulpit are cast plaster.

“The Hand pointing to Heaven” is the unique feature of this Romanesque Revival style edifice.  The first hand was carved from wood.  The ravages of time, however, destroyed it; and around 1901, the present hand was commissioned and installed. 

From the sidewalk to the tip of the finger measures 147 feet.  The hand is ten feet, four inches tall and the index finger is four feet long.  Fabricated from 24 gauge sheet iron, the hand weighs 200 pounds, and is covered by the finest German gold leaf which is but .0003 of an inch thick.

The clock is original to the building.  It was manufactured by Sperry & Co. of New York and cost $500 at the time.  It features a striker mechanism that tolls the bell on the hour. 

The town of Port Gibson originally contributed $200 to the price because the time piece served as the town clock as well.  In 1946 the town deeded its interest in the clock to the church for one dollar.  It was electrified in 1952 by the Tower Clock Company.

The bell was cast by Meneely’s Sons of West Troy, New York.  It weighs 2032 pounds, just 48 pounds lighter than the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Tradition has it that $500 in silver coin was given to be melted into the metal of the bell to improve its tone.  After selling the old bell for $300, the remainder of the price was paid by Elder H.N. Spencer. It was first rung on October 10, 1860. 

The chandeliers of solid brass are from the famous steamboat Robert E. Lee and were a gift to the church from Mr. and Mrs. William Parker.  Originally designed to burn kerosene, they are now electrified.

In 1903, the beautiful stained glass windows were installed at a total cost of $888.00.  They were restored and reinstalled in 1990 at a cost of $12,000.  The windows in the front of the building are original, and feature “flash” type glass.

The organ is a two-manual and pedal designed and built by Henry Pilcher’s Sons of Louisville, Kentucky in 1930.  The cost of the organ was $4,600.00, excluding work performed on the sanctuary to house it.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 31.959628 Longitude: -90.981925 Elevation: 119 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Michael Herrin

Hours Open to Visitation

Open daily during daylight hours.

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