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The Story of our bells

Our bells were originally from First St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, on the South Side. They were cast at First St. Paul's in 1866.  The engravings are in German, and we thank Betty Kranz for kindly translating them for us.  The small bell (the bottom bell), which weighs 450 lbs; says:


Praise be to God (Triune God). Presented by Youth Organization of First St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church of East Birmingham (present day South Side). A.D. 1866



The medium bell (the middle bell), which weighs 800 lbs; says:


God alone be the Honor. Presented by Youth Organization of First St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church of East Birmingham. A.D. 1866


The top bell (top of the tower), which weighs 1650 lbs; says:


Honor to God on High. Presented by Youth Organization of First St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church of East Birmingham. AD. 1866.


The Memorial Cross Tower is 60 feet high, and is anchored by 16 bolts. On August 21, 1969, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church signed a contract with L.T. Verdin Co. of Cincinatti, Ohio with their branch manager, Alexander T. McHugh signing for L.T. Verdin Co. and Mr. C.L. Milroth signing for Good Shepherd. The Verdin Co. was to furnish bell ringing equipment for the three bells beloning to Good Shepherd. They took the three bells to their plant in Cincinatti to be sandblasted and polished and returned. The cost of the work on the bells and the controls was $4,105. Each bell may be rung manually by the control switch in the Narthex, or rung individually or collectively if desired.

The bells became silent for several years and were recently restored and fixed and rededicated to the Glory of God on April 18, 2010. You can now hear them ring each day at noon and on Sunday after each worship service.

A memory from Ronald Gerstacker:


Gustav 'Pappy' Grek was the custodian at First St. Paul's since May 1, 1919 and was still on the job in 1949. He was a short, rolly polly, pleasant man with twinkling eyes and a jolly chuckle when he laughed.


He would come into Sunday School and pick boys to help him ring the bells. It was considered an honor and the boys would envy those who were chosen. They would climb the long winding staircase up to the bell tower. They wait for the word from Pappy to ring the three huge bells that signaled the start of the service. The long, thick bull rope dangled from the bells perched high up in the tower and you would have to be careful not to get rope burn. You also had to let go of the rope at just the right time or it would lift you high up into the tower and you could get hurt. After the bells became silent, you would leave, satisfied that you had helped and hoping to be asked soon to do it again.



*click below to view a video of the bells ringing.