Fire Bell Tower

Port Townsend City Hall



Fire Bell Tower
Bell Tower on bluff

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 new $900 fire engine. The ringing bell rallied the community to fight fires, providing a coded signal as to the location and severity of the blaze.
In October of 1889, the American Telegraph Company began erecting poles and stringing wires—the poles to be equipped with boxes containing signaling devices for the transmission of fire alarms. Gamewell Company “Excelsior” model fire alarm boxes were installed at strategic locations throughout the city. By 1933 twenty-one were in service.

Bell Tower Restoration

Since 1890 the wooden tower has weathered countless storms.  Every decade or so, the community comes together for yet another round of fundraising for its restoration.  In March 2004, the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) named Port Townsend's Fire Bell Tower, restored by the Jefferson County Historical Society and the City of Port Townsend, as the recipient of the 2004 State Historic Preservation Officer's Award for Resource Stewardship.

Port Townsend from bay