Orphaned McShane Bell in Michigan
March 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm #11391OrphanedBellinMIParticipant
This is my first time on the site and I hope to get some questions answered about a bell I’m volunteering to work on. The bell in question has been in an archives collection (in a climate controlled building) for some time, hardly touched it seems. I first noticed it when we went to the archives working on something else and I was curious about this huge bell (~38″ diameter) in the corner. Here are the particulars after I gave it a good look over:
Inscribed on the side from the bell manufacturer- “McShane Bell Foundry Baltimore, M.D.” on one side then the other has “U.S. Light-house establishment 1904”. Here’s where it gets really interesting. Someone wrote, in black paint it seems years ago, “Ram Island Ledge Light” with the numbers “4027-59” beneath it, also written in black paint.
I did some homework on the Ram Island Ledge Light and they had installed, shortly after the lighthouse was built, a fog bell put in place (8/1904). At some point, no idea when, the bell was replaced with a fog horn. Also, Ram Island Ledge Light is in Maine; the bell’s here in Michigan. I’ve looked around and around (library of congress/national archives) online for a record of this thing being moved, and no go.
What we need to know is- Are we sure that this bell actually went to Ram Island Ledge and was installed there? Why was it taken to Michigan and not kept in Maine?
I’ve called the manufacturer (McShane) and told them everything I’m telling you all. He wanted some pictures of the bell, which I’ve taken, but also a number from the shoulder of the bell. I’ve looked over it and found nothing written/inscibed on the shoulder resembling a number.
Any help would be most appreciated, even if it’s not an answer, but another place/person to ask may turn up something fruitful.
Thank you for your help!
March 2, 2010 at 2:05 am #15677hjlong3Participant
This appears to be a Light House Service Bell from 1904. Whether it was from Ram Island or some other Light House is unknown. There is a US Light House Society that is cataloguing Light House bells and may be of assistance. They can be accessed at http://www.uslhs.org .
Harry Long, MD
March 15, 2010 at 1:49 am #15676Neil GoeppingerParticipant
Hello, I’m glad Harry Long guided you to the USLHS organization. I’ll just express a thought that came to me. Likely, if the bell was replaced by a fog horn, the United States Light House Service had use for the bell in another location and would have sent it there for service. That may have been on the great lakes in Michigan. — Neil
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