Historical society looking for bell ringers

Ann Johnson Rathkamp and her daughter, Grace Rathkamp Danello, ring Westlake’s Bicentennial bell at the Clague House Museum Sept. 16. The women were in town for the Evergreen Cemetery historical marker unveiling. They were asked to be the first to ring the bell, signifying the year 1811, because of their ancestral ties to Leverett Johnson, Westlake’s first settler.

The sound of ringing bells can be heard throughout history, and Westlake’s past is no exception. Church bells, wedding bells and school bells have been ringing through the streets since the Dover Township days.

As part of this year’s Bicentennial celebration, the Westlake Historical Society is asking members of the community to ring a bell for history. The society plans to ring an old Dover fire truck bell 200 times, once for each year of Westlake’s history, during the Founders’ Path dedication ceremony at Clague Memorial Park Oct. 22.

Businesses, churches and individuals of all ages are invited to ring a bell for a year that has significance for them. Year requests have already started coming in. Westlake Kiwanis president Rick Grane will ring the bell for the year 1954, his birth year; Carole Roske, president of the Bay Village Historical Society, will ring for 1901, signifying the year Bay split off from Dover Township; Westlake Historical Society president Lysa Stanton will ring for 2003, the year she moved to Westlake; and Tara Wendell will mark the year the Westlake | Bay Village Observer started by ringing for 2008.

The first of the 200 rings represented the year 1811, and was done in advance of the Oct. 22 ceremony by Ann Johnson Rathkamp and her daughter, Grace Rathkamp Danello. The mother-daughter pair briefly visited Westlake and were asked to ring the bell in honor of their their distant family member and first Westlake settler, Leverett Johnson.

If you or a member of your family would like to be one of the 200 bell ringers, please contact Lysa at 440-721-1201 or westlakehistory@yahoo.com.

Read More on Westlake Bicentennial
Volume 3, Issue 19, Posted 3:05 PM, 09.20.2011