One of Marble’ most visible landmarks, the tower and its bell, stood and rang for nearly 65 years between 1912 and 1977 as part of the town’s fire alarm system. Twenty-five years after its demise, the Marble Historical Society undertook the reconstruction of an exact replica of the tower in its original location being completed 17 July 2010.
By today’s landmarks, this spot can be found just one-half block due south of the west end of Carbonate Creek Bridge, and is just west of the Center Street right of way, where the creek now flows, near a tight group of middle-aged cottonwood trees. The full sized replica tower on its original location serves as a direct connection with the town’s boom period. The 1912 tower was one of many boom period civic improvements and a source of pride for the town folks.
Brad Larson an area architect from Larson Design lead the construction, along with Jake Scholsser for the $70,000 replica (cash and donated services). Using field measurements taken from the tower ruins, wood with which to construct the replica came from 70-year-old timbers recovered from the Cooper Tire building in Denver and provided at cost by Jake and Susan Schloesser.
In 2002-2003, the tower foundation work was completed by several local volunteers, with marble footings donated by Rex Loesby, former owner of the local marble quarry.
The replica tower also needed a replacement bell for the 1912 bell broke into several pieces when the tower fell over during a 1977 windstorm. A bell search by Dawn Whitmer came to fruition in 2004 when she found a cast iron bell of approximately the same dimensions.
While the foundation work was in progress, work started on the tower’s three wood levels at Jake’s wood reclamation business. The wood was cut and the various pieces assembled for each side to check for fit and accuracy, each piece marked then disassembled. This process was done during Brad and Jake’s spare time from 2002 – 2008. The wood was moved to the tower site in 2008 for erection in the summer of 2009.
In the summer of 2009, a volunteer crew was assembled to raise the three wood levels. Raising the first level started 13 June and was finished on 21 June. The second level was up in August and the third was installed 2 November. Donated crane service was provided to lift the two upper sections into place.
The bell house frame was constructed of metal in 2003 and delivered to the tower site. Here Dan Prazen cut-welded the needed additions to attach the bell and other parts. In July 2010, the frame was moved to Jake’s workshop to install the bell and attach the wood covering on the sides and the roof. At 11:20pm, on 16 July 2010, the final piece was attached to the bell house.
17 July 2010, the bell house was moved to the tower site and raised into place. The final act was a ringing of the bell during the annual “Old Timers Day” by attendee Dorothy Orlosky.