A bell steeped in town history has been sitting in limbo for years as West Tisbury looks to find a permanent display solution. The bell had a long and active life, presiding over the Dukes County Academy, a private school built in 1870. It hung over an addition on the building until the addition was relocated to the Whiting property. The school was converted into the current town hall in 1977.

“The addition is now what my Uncle Allen uses as an art studio,” said town clerk Tara Whiting. “I’m assuming we took it all, bell included. The bell had always been hanging outside the farmhouse.”

About five years ago, Ms. Whiting donated the old academy bell to the town. For half a decade it has been moved from storage unit to storage unit, finally landing in a storage unit next to the salt shed on the road to the town dump.

Town administrator Jennifer Rand has been working to obtain some sort of display apparatus to house the bell on town hall property, she told selectmen last week, but has run into continuous problems. Ms. Rand has reached out to multiple people to build a yoke to hold the bell which would then be placed near the playground next to town hall, she said.

Selectman Kent Healy with bell, which has been housed in storage units for the past several years. — Mark Lovewell

“I have asked more than one person to build that for us who has said yes, and then ghosted me, and finally admitted they don’t want to do it,” said Ms. Rand said at the meeting.

Selectman Kent Healy inquired about the specifications of the bell.

“How much does it weigh?” he asked.

“A lot,” replied Ms. Rand. “I mean it’s a legit, big, school brass-type metal bell.”

The bell has had the clanger removed, she added.

Ms. Rand said discussions for displaying the bell recently shifted from a yolk to a pedestal.

“We’re not going to put it on a yolk, because nobody will build that for me. I’ve given up on that,” she said. “We were discussing instead of out back, putting it on some sort of attractive low pedestal in front of town hall...and then building some sort of thing over it that is reminiscent of the cupola.”

Selectmen Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd favored adding the bell as a feature on the playground.

“I think it should be part of the playground...just set it on the ground and let the kids climb on it,” he said.

Mr. Healy was still not satisfied with the description of the bell.

“What’s it look like?” he asked.

“It looks like a bell,” said Ms. Rand.

The discussion ended with the board asking Mr. Healy to inspect the bell.

“My full notes for this is Kent will investigate,” said Ms. Rand.