This bell is the remaining symbol of the leap made by city leaders to establish and equip a professional firefighting force after the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889. On that day, the young metropolis of Seattle was devastated by flames in spite of the efforts of its heroic volunteer firefighters.
Purchased in 1890 from the Gardiner C. Campbell & Sons Centennial Bell and Iron Works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the 5,000 pound bell hung above Seattle's first professional fire station at Seventh Avenue and Columbia Street downtown. Campbell & Sons made similar bells for communities around the United States.
Electronic communications soon made the bell obsolete, and it was taken down in 1919. The fire station lasted until the early 1960s when it was demolished to make way for Interstate 5. The bell came to MOHAI in time for the museum's grand opening in 1952, and was rededicated June 6, 2002.