Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ballard Centennial Bell

Ballard Centennial Bell Tower

A few days ago we went to visit the “Clover” toy store in Ballard.  It happened that our parking spot was near the small Marvin’s Garden Park at 22nd Avenue NW and Ballard Avenue, which is where the old Ballard City Hall had been located and now is home to the Ballard Centennial Bell.  The bell was cast at the Buckeye Foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1892, is 37.5 inches in diameter and weighs 1,000 pounds or ½ ton.  Originally the bell hung in the Ballard City Hall and rang daily.  It rang to announce fires, quitting time for the local shingle mills, and the curfew for children. 

When Ballard was annexed into the city of Seattle in May of 1907 the bell officially rang for the city of Ballard the last time.  Both the Landaas and Lorig families had ties to Ballard and lived there before it was annexed.  Edd Lorig's machine shop was located very near the city hall.  The former Ballard City Hall was used for a time as a Seattle police precinct station and was eventually demolished in 1965. 
After the demolition of the city hall the bell was moved to the Firlands Sanitarium site and then brought back to Ballard for display at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.  A Ballard Bell Centennial Foundation was formed in 1987 to bring the bell and the four white steel columns back to its original site where it now stands.  The bell is powered by an electromagnet and strikes the hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.  On Sundays the bell also rings for a full minute at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to mark the opening and closing of the Ballard Farmers Market.

Dedicatory seal
This seal is imbedded in the floor and informational placards are placed on the walls in the bell tower.  One had this drawing below of the old city hall and the original bell tower.  While not exactly as it was the new tower has retained similar architectural lines. 

Drawing of the original Ballard City Hall and bell tower

Closer view of the bell tower

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