Restored bronze bell to adorn firehouse Westminster council OKs purchase, installation

September 15, 1998|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The Westminster Common Council agreed yesterday to spend $11,408 for the purchase and installation of a refurbished bronze bell at the city's new firehouse.

After listening to a presentation by Robert Schultz, a member of Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1, the council voted 4-0 to buy a 900-pound Meneeley bell for $10,500 and pay $908 for delivery and installation.

The money approved yesterday was about $2,400 more than the council had allocated for the purchase in June. The council had set aside $9,000 for the bell in this year's fiscal budget.

The bell will be bought from Van Bergen Co. in Charleston, S.C. It is expected to be installed in a freestanding tower outside the new firehouse on John Street before its grand opening next month.

Fire officials had planned to take the old half-ton bell that adorns the firehouse on Main Street to the new firehouse but changed their minds in the summer of 1997 when city officials agreed to buy a replacement.

Councilwoman Suzanne P. Albert led the effort to keep the old bronze bell in its century-old firehouse clock tower overlooking tTC downtown. The bell, made in Baltimore and donated by a fire official's wife in 1896, tolls on the hour and half-hour. It is maintained by the city.

"The bell is a landmark, a symbol for the city," said Albert, whose firefighter grandfather, David E. Walsh, was Westminster's mayor from 1912 to 1916. "I just didn't think it would be right to move it," she said.

If the old bell is moved, ownership would revert to the fire company.

The Main Street firehouse will be redeveloped by Max Realty, which has undertaken projects in the old Penney's building and the Winchester Exchange, a complex of shops and offices.

Pub Date: 9/15/98

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