Franklin Street in downtown Port Washington has several buildings with interesting features, but the highlight of this street scene is St. Mary's Catholic Church, which is located on a bluff that is high above the entire downtown area.
The original St. Mary's church was a small frame church built in 1849. It was replaced with a stone church in 1860. This limestone edifice was erected in 1882.
Slatted windows on the 4 sides of the bell tower, which houses 3 church bells, are what makes them sound unusually rich and full as they are heard for miles around. In appreciation, the people of Port Washington, in 1885, donated a 4 dial clock that is also housed in the bell tower. The square tower changes to an 8 sided spire and a simple cross is mounted at the tip of the spire. This cross, which is 7 feet, 8 inches tall, can be seen for miles out into Lake Michigan and has long been a guide for sailors.
The church was completed at a cost of about $70,000 and was dedicated on Thursday, October 9, 1884.