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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tacoma in Pierce County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Bell and Pump House

 
 
Bell and Pump House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., August 3, 2021
1. Bell and Pump House Marker
Inscription.  

From the Daily Ledger, Tacoma Washington, Sunday, June 15, 1913:
"The Browns Point bell was cast in 1855 by Bernard & Co. bell foundry in Philadelphia, and was brought around the Horn in 1857 by the first lighthouse tender to come to the Pacific coast, the "Shurrick", to see duty at Dungeness Light Station during the 1860s and later at Point No Point, before its installation at Browns Point in 1903."
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Among the first light keeper's duties in the early 1900s was ringing the bell during periods of fog. Browns Point is said to have more dense fog and longer sustained periods of fog than any other site in Puget sound. This 1,200 pound fog bell was operated by hand winding a crank that lifted a 1,440 pound weight with a four part gear. This mechanism controlled the hammer that struck the fog bell. It required a person to wind it every 90 minutes. The bell rang a single stroke every 20 seconds. In 1922 all of Browns Point received electricity, and the light and bell winding mechanism were run electrically.

When the old wooden lighthouse was replaced by a new
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concrete lighthouse in 1933, the bell was removed and replaced by an air horn. The bell was given to the College of Puget Sound (University of Puget Sound) where the bell was rung to mark the beginning and ending of classes. In 1984, the bell was given to the Island Alliance Church on Fox Island. A bowling ball was attached inside for a clapper. On June 21, 2000 the church donated the bell to Points NE Historical Society, who returned it back to Browns Point Lighthouse Park.

The bell now hangs in the old Pump House, which was built in 1917 to pump well water to the cottage. In 1922, the Pump House was converted to hold the station's new electrical lines and panels. Today it holds the original Browns Point fog bell and is known as the Bell House.

[Bottom left diagram caption reads]
Gamewell Fog Bell Striking Apparatus No. 4
The bell ringing apparatus required hand winding the crank every 90 minutes. A hammer struck the bell every 20 seconds.
 
Erected by Points NE Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkCommunicationsWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Historic Bells series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 15, 1913.
 
Location. 47° 18.334′ N, 122° 
Pump House and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., August 3, 2021
2. Pump House and Marker
26.569′ W. Marker is in Tacoma, Washington, in Pierce County. Marker and bell are at Browns Point Lighthouse Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 201 Tulalip Street NE, Tacoma WA 98422, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Crew Quarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Light Keeper's Cottage (within shouting distance of this marker); The Browns Point Light Keeper's Cottage (within shouting distance of this marker); Captain George Vancouver at Browns Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Boat House and Oil House (within shouting distance of this marker); Browns Point Light Station (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Generator Building (about 300 feet away); The Browns Point Lighthouse (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tacoma.
 
Also see . . .
1. Browns Point Lighthouse Park. (Submitted on August 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Browns Point Lighthouse. (Submitted on August 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Points NE Historical Society. (Submitted on August 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Bell inside the Pump House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., August 3, 2021
3. Bell inside the Pump House
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 22, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 134 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Apr. 18, 2024