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For Where the Bell Tolls

Where the Bell TOlls

In spring of 2021, a long-lost bell made its way back to its hometown of Sandpoint. Originally perched in a cupola atop the old Sandpoint City Hall finished in 1911, the bell was used as a fire signal for the building, which housed the police station, jail and fire station. The bell was removed in the winter of 1951-52, sold, and then forgotten. Until 2019, when the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint purchased the old City Hall and began plans for the restoration of the building, including a dream of returning the bell to its former space. But where was the bell?

With help from the Bonner County History Museum, the search began. After an article published by the museum, two men came forward with news of a potential hit. There was a bell in Spokane, at Way Out West Antiques. The director of the music conservatory was on her way to Costco to buy toilet paper for the conservatory when she got the call. She ended up purchasing a bell instead.

Today, the one-ton bronze bell sits in the yard of the museum, awaiting its return to the top of the historic Sandpoint City Hall building, where it will continue to alert the community—this time for music.

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