Friday, July 23, 2010

The Bell of the "Bell Tower" Brothel

We believe that Ben Maxwell confused a brothel near the Bell Tower for a brothel named the "Bell Tower."

But we never imagined that the bell itself was still around! (If that information is out there, we just missed it.)

The plaque on the bell at the downtown fire station reads:
SALEM'S FIRE BELL. First mounted on a tower behind the 200 block of north High Street, it was then moved to the city hall in 1897. This 2000 lb. bell was used to call Salem firefighters to fires from 1882 to 1924.
The casting date is plainly visible. It reads "Meneely & Co. West Troy. N.Y. 1882"

Here is the 1895 Sanborn map of the block bounded by State, Court, Liberty, and High. The tower was located in center of the alley directly behind the present Grand Theater - where the Fashion Stables are marked on the map.

Below is a detail showing the tower. The brothel was to the west, on the left in one of the houses marked "Chinese."

So just think, if "meet me under the clock" meant one thing, "meet me under the bell tower" entirely another!

(See our previous post for more!)

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