Vol. IV No. 20 9/15/2023
Editorial: The Sweet Sound of the Chimes
The Children's Chimes Bell Tower was built in 1878 and given to the Town by David Dudey Field. It is believed the Tower was built on the site of the original 1739 Meeting House.
David Dudley Field II built the Chime Tower in honor of his grandchildren. He wrote, "It will be a memorial of those who are enshrined in my heart, while the ringing of the chimes at sunset I trust will give pleasure to all whose good fortune it is to live in this peaceful valley."
In accordance with Field's instructions, the chimes were rung at 5:30 every evening between "apple blossom time and the first frost on the pumpkin."
Over the decades, the times for ringing were lengthened — ringing every hour — and the time span shortened — "from apple blossom to apple drop." Then the trouble started: first, they were off-key, and then they fell silent. The bells were silent too long. It was a momentous task to repair them, but very soon the task will be completed.
Thank you to Terry Flynn, who as Select Board Chair worked to get the ball rolling, to Bruce Blair, who jumped in early to increase momentum, to our 2021 Select Board, who found the money, to our Historical Commission who put in an oar, and to our Town Administrator who shepherded it through. The bells will be all repaired and polished, and heard once more in Stockbridge next month.
The bells did more than ring the hour. For many years, Claire Williams climbed all those steps in the Tower to reach the bells. Twice a week at least, for half an hour, Claire played music including "Amazing Grace" and other hymns. When told that soon the chimes would be fixed, she said, "Oh, how wonderful."
At 94 years old, Claire will be very happy to hear the Children's Chimes Tower ring out once more. So will we all.
Wouldn't it be great if the Town considered scheduling an event to ring in the new while celebrating a 250-year-old tradition? The Chimes represent the best of Stockbridge. Patrick, Chuck, Jamie, how about voting for a block Party on the Town Green?
Children's Chime Tower.