Saving the bell

Saving the bell

Preservationists are asking for the city’s help to save this bell produced by the Blake Bell Company of Boston. William Blake was an apprentice of Paul Revere.
Preservationists seek to protect ‘extraordinary treasure’

PAWTUCKET – Members of the Preservation Society of Pawtucket are asking city officials to help them save an artifact they discovered in the Oak Grove Cemetery Lodge last month.

In a letter to Mayor Donald Grebien and Public Works Director Bill Ankner, Barbara Zdravesky, president of the Pawtucket Preservation Society, asked that something be done to protect the bell into the future.

“This bell is an extraordinary treasure, one which must be protected and cared for,” she wrote.

The Breeze first reported that Zdravesky and cemetery volunteers including Ken Postle had discovered the bell still hanging in the lodge’s belfry after going on a hunt to see what was up there.

City officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The original bronze bell was made around 1896 by Boston’s Blake Bell Company, according to historical records. The company’s owner was William Blake, who had apprenticed in the Paul Revere Foundry. The bell was installed in the lodge when the building was constructed.

“The lodge building itself is deteriorating from neglect and regular vandalism,” said Zdravesky. “Our immediate concerns are that the bell will be stolen from the lodge, or that the belfry tower will eventually collapse from water damage. To lose it or have it damaged would be a heartbreaking loss for the city.”

Within several hours of The Valley Breeze’s article being published a month ago, local preservationists were contacted by the Verdin Bell Company with an offer to help care for the bell, said Zdravesky.

“This further impressed upon me its value and importance,” she said. “Though we have always known the cemetery and its lodge are meaningful historic resources in Pawtucket, it is even more so now that we know the original bell is still there.”

Restoring the bell would be a sign that the city values its historical treasures and understands the positive impact such an act would have on the morale of its citizens, Zdravesky said.