The Bell Tower
Climbing the stairs to the bluff overlooking Port Townsend, you will find yourself in a residential area that also hosts a very old bell tower. This bell tower was used for summon the volunteer fire department in the early years of Port Townsend, and is one of the preserved treasures of the town. The tower was built in 1890 and remained in service until a date that isn't quite recorded for us in history. Some sources claim 1920, while some area residents and some records indicate the new fire station that was built around 1948 was when the bell in the tower finally stopped rining. There was a fairly elaborate mechanical system for ringing the bell so that the fire department volunteers would know exactly where to go in the town rather than going to the fire department first.
You will find that there are some panoramic views from the platform surrounding the Bell Tower as well.
There is a small bench here, and the surrounding small park also features a number of items of local flavor, including a plaque with a beautiful poem about a visit to the Bell Tower.
I came to the bell tower about 9:30 in the morning on September 20th, 2010 and found that there were semi-wild deer poking about in the area, with one essentially in the bell tower park. Port Townsend, while a city and growing suburban-like community, still has some wildlife that comes to visit, apparently.
The URL below is for the Jefferson County Historical Society, which has a bit of information about the bell tower and its preservation in 2004 on its web site. There is also quite a bit of information on the history of the Port Townsend fire departments, and a little about the early electric-mechanical fire call system that placed various fire call boxes throughout Port Townsend, and allowed anyone to call the fire department to a particular location, thanks to the unique electrical signals coming from each box that rang the bell in the tower.
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The lifestyle of the Olympic Peninsula is a bit more laidback than the hectic east side of the Puget Sound. It is quieter and slows down. We met a couple of Dutch travellers who had travelled over from Seattle and they mentioned that while the town was nice, there was nothing in between - of course, that is a different cultural perspective. To one who grew up in the Northwest, there is getting to be too much in between the towns today.
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