BRUNSWICK — Downtown Brunswick will soon have a few more historical showpieces on display, including a large, pre-Civil War bell that escaped being melted down for armaments for the Confederacy.
The 163-year-old bell that once hung in an early Brunswick farmers market is being returned to its home at Queens Square on Newcastle Street.
It will join an iron stew pot, said to have been used to cook the first batch of Brunswick stew, in separate displays downtown.
Both are being moved from the now closed visitors welcome center at U.S. 17 and the F.J. Torras Causeway and being turned over to the city by the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce.
It’s part of a plan to showcase the history of Brunswick, said Mathew Hill, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, which promotes downtown growth. “Having these back in their original locations will be great,” Hill said.
The bell, cast in 1850, isn’t just significant because of its former home in downtown. It survived being sent with other large bells and metal items to Macon to be melted down for Confederate artillery. It eventually was returned to Brunswick.
Before its brush with war, the bell was a fixture, used to alert fire departments to fires and summon merchants to market.
Mayor Bryan Thompson is thrilled to see it return to its original location. “Any opportunity we have to reweave some of the historical fabric of the community, we want to do that,” Thompson said.
City Commissioner Julie Martin says the bell is a welcome addition to Queens Square, which the preservation group she co-founded, Signature Squares, plans to renovate after it finishes work in Hanover Square.
Plans are to display the stew pot at Mary Ross Waterfront Park, on Bay Street near Gloucester Street, downtown.