Sunday, September 6, 2015

Discovered While Looking for Something Else

Many's the time this picture has stumped people who encounter it. What is it? Where was it located?

Bizarre as is seems, it's not hard to figure out that this is a bell turned upside down and put to use as a water trough for horses. The bell appears again in a later photograph, which identifies its location--at the intersection of Green Street and Fairview Avenue. (Note the bell at the left.)

Just tonight I discovered, in the Columbia Republican for January 10, 1922, a news item which, while announcing the end of the bell watering trough, recounts its history.

The death knell was sounded Wednesday for the old "bell" watering-trough situated for years at the corner of Green street and Fairview avenue, when the Commission of Public Words ordered that it be removed. The passing of this bit of Hudson landmark was brought about because of the confusion it has caused at the street intersection since motor traffic became so extensive.
The bell was originally the old Hudson fire bell and was used for many years in the tower to call out the firemen. It was replaced by the bell now in use in the tower back of the City Hall. The old bell became the possession of Jonas Rossman, who owned the fine place on upper Green street. The latter originated the idea of reversing the bell position and using it as a watering-trough.
The plan was carried out by Mr Rossman and the bell was placed in the middle of the street intersection, connected with running city water. The unveiling of this was one of the events in the history of the city at that time.
But the bell has served its purpose now. The horses that would stop at that end of the city for a cool drink have grown fewer and fewer each year and motor cars have as steadily increased in number. The position of the bell in the center of both roadways made for increased danger to motor traffic and last summer the Public Works board's attention was called to this by the Commission of Public Safety. The matter was taken up and fully discussed for some time with the result that the decision came Wednesday.
The Commission Wednesday decided to place a watering-trough at the Rogers Park, at the intersections of Green, Columbia and State streets instead. There will also be another watering-trough in the lower part of the city, the location to be decided upon later. 


  1. the watering trough at Green Columbia State is now a planter and should be relocated inside the triangular fenced park for safe keeping - the bell is most likely in south bay land fill