ShareThis Page
News

Apollo alarm bell dedicated

| Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005

Before the days of Sept. 11, 2001, sirens and mobile phones, there was the bell.

The alarm bell may be silent most of the time, but it now claims a fit and proper resting place, in front of the Apollo Area Historical Society, overlooking much of the hillside town that it helped to protect.

The significance of this bell and those it called to serve was recognized in a dedication service Saturday at the historical society.

Keynote speaker, state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City, said, "I was honored to present a state commendation to the Apollo Hose companies. Firefighters are truly selfless servants and this bell symbolizes the protection they give us, even when we sleep."

Crafted of 80 percent copper and 20 percent tin in 1890 by the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, the bell now is minus its clapper. The Diamond and Excelsior Alarm Bell is no lightweight; it weighs 605 pounds and cost 22 cents per pound to manufacture in 1890. Using those statistics, the original tab of about $133 seems like small change when it is contrasted with the $14,000 it cost in today's money.

The day's celebration also included the dedication of a refurbished 1955 Oren hook-and-ladder truck. According to Apollo No. 2 Fire Chief Kevin Gibbons, "At one time, after the truck was retired 15 years ago, some members wanted to sell the Oren to a collector."

Fortunately, another group that argued to keep the truck prevailed, Gibbons said.

"We learned from some other local companies that getting rid of these historical trucks can be regrettable," Gibbons said. "So, those of us that could help with stripping paint and things like that did so -- and many gave money."

Gibbons made a concerted effort to locate area restoration specialists and was able to deal with businesses in the Delmont and Murrysville areas. The work was completed in Southwestern Pennsylvania, even down to the historically correct gold leaf detailing that accentuates the beautiful pearl white glossy finish.

Three members who were active when the truck was purchased were in attendance; Herbert Ament of Harrison and Richard Hughes and Howard Stone, both of Apollo.

Although Apollo No. 1 Fire Department no longer exists and the 1955 Oren is just a curiosity, the bell and truck represent the importance of their history to the residents of Apollo that have endeavored to keep these symbols a part of the community.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me