Former Westborough Revere bell installed at Old South Meeting House
Westborough - The Boston Preservation Alliance has honored the installation of a rare 1801 Paul Revere bell at Old South Meeting House with a 2012 Preservation Achievement Award in the category Rehabilitation/Restoration Preserving Boston’s Architectural or Cultural Heritage.
The annual awards honor outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston. Susan Park is the president of Boston Preservation Alliance.
“The Awards Selection Committee was thrilled that Old South Meeting House now houses a historic Paul Revere bell,” she said, “and that the sound of the 18th century once again resonates throughout the Downtown Crossing neighborhood.”
In October of 2011, the 876-pound bell, cast by silversmith and patriot Paul Revere at his North End foundry in 1801, was raised to the Old South Meeting House tower in a grand public ceremony, giving over 2,000 people the opportunity to witness a critical part of the preservation project. Work continued for over two months to connect the bell to the building’s 1766 tower clock, the oldest American-made tower clock in the United States still operating in its original location. The tower clock has not had a bell to strike since the building’s last bell was removed in 1876. The restoration of the tower clock received a Preservation Achievement Award in 2010 in the category of Restoration of an Iconic Boston Landmark.
The bell is rare, one of only 46 surviving bells made at the Revere and Sons Bell & Cannon Foundry before Paul Revere’s death. Originally cast for the First Church in Westborough, it needed a new home when the church that owned it disbanded.
Preservation architect and project director Wendall Kalsow, of McGinley, Kalsow & Associates, said that working on this project, “was especially rewarding…and gave us the chance to work directly with some of New England’s best craftsmen and engineers.”
The specialists include steeple jack Bill Perrett, of Northland Restoration; clock specialist David Hochstrasser, of the Clock Shop; Jeff Makholm, who designed and built a new bell wheel; acoustical engineers from Cavanaugh Tocci; and structural engineer Arthur MacLeod, of MacLeod Consulting.
The long-envisioned dream of returning a bell to the Old South Meeting House and connecting it to the 1766 tower clock was made possible by the support of the Storrow family as a gift to the city and citizenry of Boston. At the grand celebration Oct. 16, 2011, when the bell was lifted to the steeple, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said that the “extraordinary” project “restores an important party of our heritage and [will] benefit generations of Boston visitors and residents to come.”
The Preservation Achievement Awards will be presented by the Boston Preservation Alliance at an awards ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Paramount Center. Visit the website atwww.bostonpreservation.org for information and tickets.
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