FAIRHAVEN — Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School students lent a hand in giving the historic Revere Bell a new home at town hall.
Previously located at the former Oxford School, soon to become senior housing, the Revere Bell is moving to the right side of Town Hall behind the flagpole area.
Once the school was closed and sold to become a housing development, the bell was removed from its original place. Voc-Tech students built a new beam from which the bell was hanging out of metal and wood to help create a new housing for the bell.
This three-year project is still ongoing. The Fairhaven Bell Committee, led by Doug Brady, asked Voc-Tech students lend a hand. Students from visual design, carpentry, engineering and welding/metal fabrication shops have become involved, creating a 3-D model of the original bell to help them design the perfect size for the bell’s housing. Over the past few years, students have built a trailer for the bell for use in parades.
“Ever since it came, we’ve been taking pictures and videos of it,” said welding instructor Paul Mendez.
Mendez said out of all of the community-based projects students have had the honor of working on, this one is one of the biggest, and not just in size. The history of the bell has expanded to the rest of their coursework, having them understand the history of the bell and Paul Revere.
The bell is one of the oldest in the state. Mendez said that one of the school’s engineering instructors used to ring the bell when he went to Oxford himself.
“All around, it’s a great project,” Mendez said. “It’s history that we write about.”
Currently, the bell is being reconditioned. Mendez and the committee anticipates that the display casing will cost a lot of money to build, as the students do the labor for free, and the committee is looking for lumber or monetary donations for this project. To contribute, residents can contact chairman Doug Brady for more information.
According to a press release from Voc-Tech, the original Paul Revere Bell was cast in 1796 at Revere’s foundry in Boston. It was ordered by Isaac Sherman, Samual Proctor of the Second Church of Christ in New Bedford. Back then, the town of Fairhaven did not exist, as the large area of land was entirely known as New Bedford. The bell was placed in the cupola atop of the church and meeting house, which no longer remains, until 1914.
The bell itself was listed at 756 pounds and bears the inscription “The Living to the Church I Call and to the Grave I Summon All” with Revere’s initials engraved in the corner.
“Many years from now, the former students will be able to look upon the cupola at town hall and tell their children they helped build the design and history of the Revere Bell,” stated in the press release. “Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech students and faculty involved in this extremely impactful project are honored to be working with this piece of local history.”
Standard-Times staff writer Kerri Tallman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ktallman_SCT for links to recent articles.
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