Interior Forestry museum builds tower for Arrow Head School Bell

The BC Interior Forestry Museum unveils the Arrowhead School Bell tower as part of a new exhibit that museum director Glenn Westrup says 'is a great way of ending my 7-year tenure at the museum.'

Museum Director Glenn Westrup wearing the Copper Bell Tower Cap Crown. Photo: BC Interior Forestry Museum

The BC Interior Forestry Museum is proud to unveil an artifact sitting in the corner of the museum for the last 24 years, the Arrowhead School Bell. The bell can finally be rung again thanks to a new pyramid design tower reaching a height of 4.7 metres.

The Forestry Museum obtained a grant to build the bell tower, says museum director Glenn Westrup in a media release.

The Arrowhead Bell Tower Project offered the Forestry Museum the opportunity to add another hands-on exhibit to its extensive collection. The bell is an important part of Revelstoke’s history.

Arrowhead, a community on the north end and east shore of the Arrow Lakes south of Revelstoke, was abandoned in the 1960s due to the decision to build Keenleyside Dam at Castlegar, part of the Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada. The dam construction resulted in the inundation of the valley.

The Arrowhead School, which opened near the beginning of the 20th century, boasted the 250-pound bell made at the National Bell Foundry of Cincinnati.

The Forestry Museum says the design stage for the bell tower was delayed due to Covid 19, but they also faced difficulties with the weight and swing of the bell during the process.

“Until this was overcome by adopting the pyramid design in May 2022, all early designs failed to offer the sleek, clean lines of the tower without compromising structural strength,” said Westrup in a media release. “The final design once adopted became so obvious it is hard to believe we went through so many prototypes on paper.”

The final tower design. Photo: BC Interior Forestry Museum

Visitors can ring the Arrowhead School Bell during opening hours and learn more about the effect of the flooding on the Arrowhead townsite through the new exhibit.

“By physically ringing the bell, it gives visitors the chance to reflect on the impermanence of place and society,” says Westrup. “Ken Campbell’s kind donation of substantial timbers and the incredible volunteer work of Stuart Andrews with his brother Rod’s design work were significant factors in the successful completion of this project.”

Museum Director Glenn Westrup wearing the Copper Bell Tower Cap Crown. Photo: BC Interior Forestry Museum

“I can’t believe it turned out exactly as my design concept envisaged,” said Westrup. “This is a great way of ending my 7 year tenure at the museum as Museum Director.” According to the media release, Westrup will leave his role at the museum in mid-October.

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