Fire Bell Tower

Fire Bell Tower (HM1KS3)

Location: Port Townsend, WA 98368 Jefferson County
Country: United States of America
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N 48° 6.915', W 122° 45.528'

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Inscription

— Port Townsend —

This is the last remaining
wooden fire bell tower in the
United States.


Port Townsend's Fire Bell Tower is a 75-foot wooden structure built in 1890 to hold a 1,500 pound brass bell and the city's new $900 fire engine.

The ringing bell rallied the community to fight fires, providing a coded signal as to the location and severity of the blaze.

In October of 1889, the American Telegraph Company began erecting poles and stringing wires—the poles to be equipped with boxes containing signaling devices for the transmission of fire alarms. Gamewell Company "Excelsior" model fire alarm boxes were installed at strategic locations throughout the city. By 1933 twenty-one were in service.

An "indicator unit" in the fire station at City Hall received the transmission and its 14-inch brass bell rang in a timed pattern. The device decoded the signal and displayed the specific alarm box number. Firefighters, arriving at the fire hall, checked the number on the indicator and rushed off to the location of the fire.

The bell ringer unit transmitted the coded location of the pull-box alarm to the Bell Tower. One of the fire¬fighters at the station would then select the number of times the bell ringer would cycle the coded signal for one, two or three alarm fires.

Since 1890 the wooden tower has weathered countless storms. Every decade or so, the community comes together for yet another round of fundraising for its restoration. In March 2004, the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) named Port Townsend's Fire Bell Tower, restored by the Jefferson County Historical Society and the City of Port Townsend, as the recipient of the 2004 State. Historic Preservation Officer's Award for Resource Stewardship.
Details
HM NumberHM1KS3
Tags
Placed ByJefferson County Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 6:04pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10U E 517952 N 5329138
Decimal Degrees48.11525000, -122.75880000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 48° 6.915', W 122° 45.528'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds48° 6' 54.9" N, 122° 45' 31.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)360
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 319 Tyler St, Port Townsend WA 98368, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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