Update on Status of the Effort to Save the Bell Tower
First Lutheran Church (FLC) and the community are urgently working to restore the 126-year-old Bell Tower soaring over Race Street in Over-the-Rhine. This iconic structure is a staple amongst the rooftops of the eastern skyline of Washington Park and its demolition is imminent.
The 179-year-old church has deep roots in the community it serves. The original 2,000-pound bell that hangs in the Tower was manufactured by the Verdin Bell Company, many members were born or live within blocks of FLC, and it serves as a meeting and performance space for dozens of arts and community organizations each year.
By June 5, 2021, FLC must raise $1.6 million in order to save the Bell Tower and we need your help to do it. These funds will allow us to restore a community gem and ensure ADA compliance with the addition of an elevator and an accessible welcome center.
How Can You Help?
There are many ways to stay engaged with the Save the Bell Tower efforts. This visual brochure answers many questions people may have regarding the restoration. Whether you are a supporter of the church, a historic preservation enthusiast, or a member of the community, personalize your message and let others know why this is an important cause to you.
1. Donate or make a pledge. Tax-deductible donations and/or pledges can be made directly to First Lutheran Church, Cincinnati Preservation Association, or OTR A.D.O.P.T. via the “Save the Bell Tower” fund. Find out if your employer offers matching funds to make your dollars go farther!
2. Send a message of support to Cincinnati City Council by phone or email. Council is currently deciding how to allocate $290 million in American Rescue Plan stimulus funds and we are seeking $1 million of that pie. Council is listening to your voice and each one counts towards our goal. Emails should be sent to email@example.com.
Here is some sample language you can use, if you like:
Dear City Council,
I am writing to ask you to support the restoration of the First Lutheran Bell Tower on Race Street in Over-the-Rhine by providing $1 million of City funding for the project. The restoration will not only preserve this historic icon of our City, but will result in the building becoming accessible for all members of our community. We must work together to save it.
3. Spread the word. Reach out to five friends and ask them to consider a donation, get creative on social media with videos and posts, build the tower from LEGO® bricks, paint, draw – anything that strikes your fancy – and encourage others to do the same.
Again, we cannot emphasize enough how much your support means to us. The founding members of the church stated they wanted a church, not just for themselves, but a church for the whole city. The ability to not only save the tower but make it ADA compliant and provide street-level access will ensure we live up to the standards set forth by our predecessors.
Follow us on Facebook for regular updates on the status of restoration and more ways to get involved.
Cincinnati Movers and Makers, March 2021
WVXU, April 2021
WLWT, April 2021
Cincinnati Business Courier, May 2021