Sign-up to receive email updates from the Iowa West Foundation

CB Community Chimes in to make Bell Tower Project Possible

October 11, 2017

Fire Bell 4 blog.png

The grant application started with this simple sentence: The City of Council Bluffs has a historical treasure stored in a warehouse, out of public view.

The Council Bluffs Fire Department was referring to the 140-year-old centennial fire bell, which was collecting dust after being on display for nearly a century prior to the early 2000s.

"Returning the fire bell to Central Fire Station will help tell the history of the city through the fire department's eyes,” said Fire Chief Justin James.

But the department needed the Foundation’s help to do so. A simple bell tower could have been built with the funds on hand, but the CBFD wanted a pictorial history on the walls of a surrounding plaza. These additional elements would allow the approximately 2,000 children who visit the fire station each year by the busload to learn more about the department’s storied past.

The Foundation awarded a substantial $85,000 toward the project and encouraged the applicants to invite the community to support the effort as well. 

Did they ever. While CBFD initially budgeted just under $50,000 from the community, they ultimately exceeded their goal, raising $84,256 to be exact. At the dedication on May 19th, Chief James announced $331,000 had been raised through 180 donors, including local businesses, residents, firefighters and their families in addition to the Foundation.

“This is not just a fire department project, but a community project we all are proud of,” he said.

President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation, Pete Tulipana, believes the bell tower is a shining example of the Council Bluffs community coming together to support a passion project.

“Our community comes together when they care deeply about something,” he said.

Fire Bell 1 blog.jpg

Now the bell rings in celebration of firefighter hires, promotions, and retirements as well as knells with the passing of both line of duty and retired firefighters. In addition, the 24-foot tower with a roof that matches the library across the street and the surrounding plaza adds to the wealth of historic attractions in the downtown area.

Most importantly, one of the city’s oldest artifacts is back where it belongs: out of the warehouse and into public view, thanks in large part to the Council Bluffs Fire Department and the community.

 Fire Bell 5 blog.jpg


Add your thoughts to the conversation

Comment on this Article

Leave a Reply


  (Your email will not be publicly displayed.)

Comments  (Max: 500 Characters)



Comment from KimesdarO
Interested in hardrock? How about Kiss band? The band is on a tour this 2019 year all across Canada and USA. Visit http://dailysnark.com/joe-hadens-interview-espn-saving-brothers-life/ to know more about KISS tour dates in 2019.
posted on
Comment from Robertscodo
301 Moved Permanently
http://captcha.ninja/ - 301 Moved Permanently>>>
posted on
Comment from HootieO
I like rock bands! I really do! And my favourite rock band is Hootie and The Blowfish! All band members has reunited to give more than 50 concerts to their fans in 2019! To know more about Hootie & Blowfish in 2019 visit website Hootie and the Blowfish tour New Orleans. You won't miss any performance in 2019 if you click on the link!
posted on

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to
live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its
quality of life and standard of living.

Iowa West Foundation    |    25 Main Place, Suite 550    |    Council Bluffs, Iowa    |    712-309-3000