Dozens of people gathered on Tuesday evening for the inaugural automated ringing of the bell in the historic Ballard Bell Tower at Marvin’s Garden Park.
“We’re restoring a jewel,” explained Peggy Sturdivant, who helped spearhead the “Bring the Ring Back to Ballard” campaign. “We’ve done what Bertha wanted us to do. It just made me really proud and happy.” Sturdivant is referring to Bertha Davis, who dreamed of one day hearing the bell ring. Davis passed away in May, shortly after her 97th birthday, when the bell was rung in her honor.
The bell is set to ring at noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, as it did traditionally for the mill workers. On Sunday the bell will ring at the start of the Sunday Farmers Market at 10 a.m. and at the end of the market at 3 p.m. “I was talking to the market director, and she’s absolutely thrilled to have the bell signal the start and end of the market now,” Sturdivant says.
After the dedication ceremony, a bagpiper led a procession to a reception at the Ballard Landmark
The bell was restored thanks to an outpouring of community support and help from the Ballard Historical Society, Seattle Parks and the Neighborhood Matching Fund. “I’m sorry that Bertha didn’t live to see it,” Sturdivant says, “I think she knew it was on its way, and she would’ve been thrilled to hear it.”
The event also kicked off the beginning of Tuesdays In Ballard, a weekly celebration with events and deals at participating Ballard merchants.