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A recent search through
photographs of the courthouse show a water fountain located in front of the
building since the early 1900s.  Over the
years the fountain itself has changed several times.  During the mid-1900s an old fire truck bell
was converted to form the fountain. 

The story below, “From Fire
Bell to Water Fountain” is from Ecusta’s monthly publication The Echo, November 1948.

We used to have a lot of bells in Brevard. 
There were Church bells, school bells, the Court House bell and others,
but older residents remember one bell which sounded as no other did.  This was the fire bell.

Yes, older residents remember the old familiar clanging—how it rang out
over the town and the story it told.

Lads mowing lawns under specific instructions by their parents to finish
the lawns come what may, would drop the handles of the lawn mowers and run
through yards, fields, briar patches and various obstacles in the general
direction of the fire bell.

On one occasion, it is distinctly remembered that one small eight year old,
with great excitement written across his face, raced along the sidewalk
dragging behind him a baby carriage which held his frightened, wailing baby
sister.  The baby’s safety forgotten,
baby blankets dropped to the sidewalk as the race to follow the fire truck

Then there was another bell which played a great part in clearing the way
for the fire truck and informed us of a fire. 
It was a bell which was situated on the front of the truck.  As the old engine chugged along the street it
could be heard above the noise ringing loudly. 
With these two bells, it isn’t surprising that the youngsters were so
greatly attracted to the fires.

Then like old Dobbin, the old bell was replaced by a siren.  In 1925 it was removed and placed rather sadly
in a corner in the City Hall.

This 1943 photograph of a group of Girl Scouts in front of the Court House

clearly shows the old fire truck bell turned water fountain.

However, a fireman at the time, felt that the old bell with such
interesting history back of it, should not be allowed to remain in the corner
catching dust and becoming covered with rust. 
He suggested that it be put to use as a water fountain.

After a period of inactivity, the bell which once rode to the fires
clanging its message out to the town, was made into a water fountain and today
it is in use in front of the County Court House in Brevard.  The old fire bell is still serving a very
useful purpose and is a constant reminder of the days that used to be.

By 1962 the fire bell turned
water fountain had been replaced.

Photographs and information
for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room,
Transylvania County Library.  Visit the
NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history
and see additional photographs.  For more
information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at
[email protected] or 828-884-3151 X242.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712