Work begins to restore historic bell and hose tower

Local News

ST. MARYS, Pa. (WTAJ)– A city in Elk County is taking on a project to bring a piece of firefighter history back to life.

Scaffolding went up around two weeks ago on the old Bell and Hose Tower in downtown St. Marys. It’s a structure that dates back to 1936.

“The bell tower was a neat thing because it’s been down there part of the downtown area for a very long time,” project manager and Crystal Fire Department firefighter Bill Hoehn said.

The tower was used to dry the fire department’s hoses and call out fire stations during emergencies.

It was no longer needed when they switched from bells to sirens and didn’t have to hang dry the hoses.

The tower fell into disrepair, until Hoehn and the city took on the preservation project.

“What we’re trying to do is just preserve the building,” community & economic development coordinator Tina Gradizzi said. “The inside of the building is worse than the outside, you’ll see most of the improvements on the inside.”

The total cost is $160,000, and is covered by community development block grants.

Masonry work is being done by Steger Masonry.

The bricks will get a facelift and the bell mechanism will be repaired so it can ring again.

Construction is expected to be complete in around four weeks.

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