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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chimed, I'm Sure

I've been reading about the Church of the Angels in Within the Vale of Annandale, a book by Donald W. Crocker that's becoming increasingly rare, judging from the price of a used copy on Amazon. (I didn't link you to the one on Alibris because they didn't have a picture.) This book is a detailed, homespun history of what is now the southwest Pasadena/Garvanza area. Construction on the Church of the Angels, 1100 N. Avenue 64, was completed in 1889. It was about the only thing out there at the time, but people came from miles around to attend.

So because it's Sunday, and because I have this photo looking south from the roof of the church, I thought I'd post it. It wasn't until I began editing the picture yesterday, three and a half years after I took it in July of 2008, that I noticed the raised printing on the side of the bell. "Meneel..." something.

That rang a bell. So to speak.

I don't publish every photo I take because they're (obviously) not all good enough. But I keep most of them, and I still had these photos I'd taken in December, 2010 at Fire Station 31 on South Fair Oaks in Pasadena. I did a post on Overdog about my visit there with Bellis and the Altadena Hiker. Here's FF/PM Captain Myron Cooper with the station's original bell. I don't remember much of what he told us about it, except that it was made in New York in 1888. That information is forged right on the bell.

Meneely & Co.
..st Troy, NY 1888. Which, if you read the Wikipedia article linked above, you will surmise is East Troy, now known as Watervliet.

Meneely even has an online Museum.

Station 31 has a more modern bell now, but they keep the old one as part of their museum, which you can visit at 135 S. Fair Oaks.

I guess Meneely was the place to have a bell forged, back in 1888-89. Either that or somebody knew somebody. There's a connection somewhere, if only in the synapses of my mental pictures.

15 comments:

R1 said...

lovely bells...i'm always fascinated with the sounds they make especially when they are chimed with other bells. Great set of photos too...

TheChieftess said...

You always seem to find the fascinating story behind such interesting details!!!

LGreenWriter said...

What a gorgeous pic. Perfect for a Sunday. : )

Sid Gally said...

The bell at Neighborhood Church ( now sitting on the ground) was cast in 1887 at the McShane Bell Foundry Co. In Baltimore, Md. It weighs 2200 lbs. A similar but smaller McShane bell is at the United Methodist Church in South Pasadena. They also made a 400 lb bell for the Pasadena Friends church in 1887.

Petrea Burchard said...

I would love to hear these ring together, R1.

The stories are there, Chieftess, we just have to look!

Thanks, LGW.

Sid, how nice to see you here! I think the gist of all this is that they don't make 'em like they used to.

Bellis said...

Good bit of detective work, Sherlock. Did the name Meneely ring a bell only after you took a close look at today's photo? I've just had an enjoyable half hour looking through the Meneely information online. Can you imagine the work it took to transfer these heavy bells to the Erie canal, then out via the Great Lakes, and perhaps around the tip of South America to Los Angeles? They exported to England as well, and there's a Meneely Bell in Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 days."

Thanks for the extra information, Sid.

Susan Campisi said...

Ding, ding, ding! I love how you laid out your process of discovery. I know you're a history buff; it was a pleasure to share your delight uncovering these connections.

Petrea Burchard said...

Bellis, I didn't notice the printing on the Church bell until editing the photo yesterday and got a close-up look at it. I didn't remember the name "Meneely." It was the style of the lettering itself and the fact that the name began with an M that tipped me off.

Delight is the word, Susan. I felt like one of those hackers in a sci-fi movie or a forensic specialist on CSI, clicking away at my computer and zooming in on the answers.

Cathy Hudspeth said...

Wow, that is amazing that you noticed the writing and remembered you had photographed it somewhere before - and even found the photograph. Great memory and reasoning! Also, really nice photo.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I have never looked at it up close like you, but I can tell you I hear it often. Or at least I used to. Maybe Kelly can ring in on the status of the bell today...working daily or only Sundays or maybe not a all????

Petrea Burchard said...

It's like we get these little seeds in there, Cathy. Brain seeds. Or something.

PA, I sent her the link. I hope she checks in. She was there beside me when I took the picture.

Ms M said...

Wonderful post with the bells and the history. I've always enjoyed hearing bells chime, ring together.
Bells remind me of The Nine Tailors, a British mystery by Dorothy Sayers that had to do with church bells and change ringing.

Trish said...

In the years my grandparents attended CoA, there was a bell that rang. Whether it was the bell in your photo, or something else I do not know. Some churches now have "canned" bell sounds to avoid the cost of real bells and liability.

The history of CoA and the parishioners is fascinating---if Fr Gaestel is still around, I'd bet he would be a wealth of information about the church--as he's been there since the 80's.

I thought that Huell Howser had done a California's Gold on CoA, but I'm not seeing it as a link on their website. I sure wish he would!

If you can't get Kelly to chime in on this, give the office a call and ask!

Petrea Burchard said...

I began that one, Ms. M, but never finished it. Got bogged down in the technicalities. I should have begun with earlier Sayers because there was an assumption that I knew the main character and I didn't, so he was kind of lost on me--although I liked the setting a lot.

Trish, if Huell hasn't done this church he ought to!

Dianne Emley said...

Fr. Bob Gaestel is very much still at COA. He knows a ton of history about the church buildings' history. I'm sure he'd be happy to answer any of your questions and maybe even give you a tour.