Kent Historical Museum installs 129-year old church bell

Story by Michelle Gehlman-Teeter
Photos by Tom Worrell

The Greater Kent Historical Society and Museum recently procured a big old church bell, and they needed a place to display it properly.

The First Presbyterian Church of Kent donated their 129-year old bell to the museum, when they closed their doors in 2017. The church had been a part of the Kent faith community since 1889, the building on Smith Hill being built in 1962. Unfortunately, their membership had dwindled and the building had aged to the point that it was too expensive to maintain so they made the difficult decision to close their doors. The historic church bell, some memorabilia, all of their folding chairs, and a portrait of one of their pastors were donated to the Kent History Museum.

It took five men to move the bell into the museum’s storage until a proper installation could be built. After several estimates that were out of reach of the small non-profit, Kent’s own C & G Construction Services, Inc. offered to donate their time and materials to build the outdoor installation.

C & G Construction Services Inc. is a full-service construction firm specializing in residential building construction and remodeling. They have been in business in Kent since 2001 and presently specialize in small to large size projects involving new construction and alterations to existing homes/buildings, building systems and interior spaces.

As an added bonus, C & G Construction acquired chains used at the historic Barbee Mill on Lake Washington to use as the surround for the bell. The Barbee Mill was the last lumber mill on Lake Washington, running from 1959 to 2002 when a fire shut it down permanently. It is now the location of an upscale housing complex called the Barbee Mill Community.

Millwork Outlet is donating the posts for the bell’s installation surround. The posts were used when the Kent/ Auburn Valley was building its highways in the ‘60’s. They were pylons that held the earth back during the construction. Millwork Outlet will also donate a spray to cover the chains and posts’ rust patina so it doesn’t get on people’s hands and to keep it from rusting more.

Plans are in progress to complete this project in 2019, with a dedication ceremony when it’s finished.

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