First Presbyterian Church

Welcome to the Greater Mankato on the Move Mobile History Tour featuring The First Presbyterian Church Bell.

Through the years, ladies’ societies have greatly assisted the church. At its earliest history, the group was known as the Ladies Sewing Sociable. Mankato was still a new town and ready-made clothing wasn’t always available, so these resourceful women would sew items such as underclothing, socks and mittens to raise money for the church. Their most notable gift was the church bell at First Presbyterian. 

The congregation purchased the bell in 1857 for $300. As there wasn’t a church structure yet, they hung it on a wooden frame outside the schoolhouse and both the church and the city used it. The bell was first used as a community bell, it served as a fire alarm, announced the arrivals of steamboats, the opening of court, and the call to political and military meetings. And most notably, the bell rang at the end of World War I and World War II. 

Each time the church moved they hung the bell at the new location; today it is in the corner tower of the present 1896 church building and serves as a link between today and the first decade of settlement in Mankato.

Today, the bell still rings on special occasions; most notably the bell rang on November 11, 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Visit to learn more.