Fire Bell Tower
Year Listed: 1999
Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County
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 then-new $900 fire engine. The ringing bell rallied the community to fight fires, and provide a coded signal as to the location and severity of the blaze using a system of alarm boxes. The bell tower was also used for fog soundings for the ferry dock below until the early 1960s.
The tower was threatened in 1950s and 1970s, but in both instances funds were raised to restore the structure. The tower was threatened again by collapse in 1990s, and the Washington Trust assisted with the Most Endangered Places listing in 1999 and a 2001 Valerie Sivinski Fund grant. This led to the 2003 restoration by the Jefferson County Historical Society and City of Port Townsend.
Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.