Yesterday morning, bright and early, the famous Hand Pointing to Heaven high atop the steeple of Port Gibson’s First Presbyterian Church came down to the ground and is now on its way to Virginia where it will be repaired and then re-gilded by The Gilders’ Studio, the Maryland company who put the shiny new gold leaf on the New Capitol’s eagle a couple of years ago. The original hand, which imitated the hand gesture of the church’s pastor, Zebulon Butler as he preached was carved out of wood in 1859 or 1860, but it had deteriorated so much that it was replaced with a metal hand in a renovation of 1908-1909.
According to the First Presbyterian website:
The hand atop our steeple needs to be repaired and gilded. It has been over 25 years since the current coat of gold leaf was applied, and that’s about as long as it was expected to last. The total cost of the project is estimated to be a little over $38,000, but we are confident in the quality of the project – the company doing the regilding has recently restored the eagle atop Mississippi’s Capitol. If you would like to contribute, click on the “give” tab and direct your gift to the hand restoration fund.
These pictures don’t show the bucket swaying while the man worked to get the straps secure and snug so the hand would be safe and sound as it made its descent. Congratulations to all concerned for taking care of one of Mississippi’s most historic, beloved, and let’s face it a little quirky piece of church architecture.
See The Hand when it arrived in Virginia