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A-Z History of Sumner, Washington - Bells

Provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times and the City of Sumner.


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Bells

July 16, 1915 was declared a holiday for all Sumner residents. Pickers abandoned their fields, workers left their places of business, and families ventured into the temperate summer day to see the Liberty Bell pass through on its way to the San Francisco Exposition.

They thronged the railroad depot for their scheduled fifteen minute viewing of the famous Philadelphian. The train barely slowed down.

Madge and Tress remember the large schoolhouse bell in the tower of Sumner’s first schoolhouse, a four-story structure built in 1890. Mr. Swenson, the school’s rheumatic but still-game Swedish janitor, would help youngsters ring the bell, holding their legs so they wouldn’t fly up as they pulled the bellrope. When the school house burned to the ground in 1924, the bell was stored in a nearby barn. From there it moved to a space under the bleachers as Sumner High School, where it was rung every time the football team scored a touchdown. The bell disappeared in the sixties. Its whereabouts remain a Sumner mystery.

Madge recalls that during a big snowstorm in 1915 or 1916 her dad, who had just remarried, rented a horse and sleigh to impress his bride. Young Madge had lost her mother, his first wife, just two short years before. She remembers scrambling into the sleight to snuggle between her father and new stepmother, a woman Madge came to love and revere. The three of them rode up and down the hushed and snowy streets of Sumner, their sleight’s bells ringing wildly. Madge thinks it may have snowed more back then.

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Information on these pages is provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times Staff and The City of Sumner, Wa.

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