Rocklin, Calif. – On Saturday March 24th eight children, all third graders, will create a sound not heard in Rocklin for 45 years. Those children recently won a Rocklin Historical Society essay contest giving them the opportunity to be first to pull the rope and ring the steeple bell at the Saint Mary’s Church building on Front Street in Rocklin.
It’s all part of an RHS-sponsored party on Saturday March 24 at the new Heritage Park, at the corner of Front Street and Rocklin Road, to celebrate the recent hoisting of the bell to its new perch. Festivities (including tile painting) start at 10 am.
RHS started restoring Saint Mary’s in September, 2005 after moving it a quarter mile south from the oak-framed site that it had occupied since 1883. The owner had donated the building to RHS to save it from demolition. Restoration is scheduled for completion in August when Saint Mary’s will become a non–denominational wedding chapel and meeting venue.
Thieves stole Saint Mary’s original bell from the Saint Joseph’s Novitiate in Loomis. Rocklin’s Catholics had stored it there after woodpeckers and foul weather toppled Saint Mary’s steeple in the mid 1930s.
In 1962 The Community Covenant Church, now on Topaz, vacated its 70 year old building on Third Street, but the congregation saved and stored-away the 600 pound bell which had hung in the old church’s bell tower since 1893. That bell became the Saint Mary’s bell when the congregation recently donated it to RHS.
‘We plan a big celebration to mark the placement of the bell”, said Restoration Committee Chairman Gene Johnson. ‘We expect the sound of the ringing bell to carry for several blocks, if not miles, and we hope many people will stop by to pull the rope’.
‘We hope to keep Saint Mary’s bell ringing from 10am to 2pm!!’ said Christy Barros, the newest member of the Rocklin Historical Society Board members.