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Historic bell displayed at Presbyterian Church

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LIFT: Steve Henderson directs Robert Halderman to position the bell in front of the church.
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BELL: Steve Henderson (left) and Bob Lewis, right, position the church’s historical bell, which will now be displayed on the Hill Street side of the church.

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

The Wabash Presbyterian Church will be displaying the bell presented for Indiana’a bicentennial after its recent reacquisiton.

According to Bob Lewis, a member of the church’s congregation, plans to display the 26-inch diamter and 300 pound bell have been happening for the better part of two years.

Presbyterian Church elder Pat Plummer said the church wanted to have a permanent place for the bell. Prior to the new structure being built to house it, the bell had been displayed on the church’s porch area.

“We really had the perfect place for it,” Plummer said. “Hopefully, it will draw attention to the bell and people will ask question about it and its history. We’re glad to have it installed, it adds a lot of beauty to our campus.”

The bell was forged in Cincinnati in 1846 by G. L. Hanks and delivered to Wabash when the town was about a decade old.

Lewis said for a time the bell acted as the town’s fire bell, alerting people in the area due to it being louder than the one located within the original courthouse. 

After a fire burned down the original courthouse, the Presbyterian Church combined its old and new school of theologies and relocated to its current location. The old church acted as a temporary courthouse before the current one was established, and the bell continued to serve as the city’s fire bell.

Once the present courthouse was established, the bell was reportedly relocated to the St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ (UCC). After the UCC closed its congregation, the bell was offered back to the Presbyterian Church.

Lewis said the bell was also displayed in Paradise Spring Park for Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.

While the bell is now displayed on a structure built by Lewis, additions to the structure are being planned. The plans will include getting masonry work done to the base and flowers will be planted.