One of the undocumented parts of lighthouse history is the location of the fog bells that were once used at lighthouses.
While some remain on display at the lighthouse they were made for, many more are scattered across the country at Coast Guard bases, town halls, historical societies, schools and libraries.
Out of the hundreds of times I been to West Quoddy Lighthouse in Lubec Maine I’ve never noticed the fog bell in the parking lot of the Lubec Historical Society. Recently, on returning from a visit to West Quoddy I caught a glimpse of a fog bell out of the corner of my eye and immediately turned the car around to find out a little more.
What I found out about this bell is that “the Old Channel Bell” was dedicated in a ceremony on July 4, 1978 at the Historical Society The bell has the words U. S. Lighthouse Establishment on it with a date of 1890. On the reverse side it indicates it was made by the Blake Bell Company in Boston, MA in 1890. I’m assuming that the bell was once on the nearby Lubec Channel Lighthouse.
However this leads me to a project that would be fun for all of our readers to get involved in. Send us a photograph of a fog bell and as much information as you can about it. We would need to know:
The current location where the fog bell is displayed
The inscriptions on the fog bell and the year
The size of the fog bell
It would also be helpful if you can find out where the fog bell was originally used.
Working with the American Lighthouse Foundation, we will establish a national database, with the photographs of the fog bells and their locations, plus we’ll publish as many photographs as we can that are submitted to us.
Okay folks, the rest is up to you. Start to submit those fog bell photographs. Send to:
Tim Harrison, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630. Photos can also be emailed to Timh@LHDigest.com.
This story appeared in the
December 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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