LEWISTOWN It has been five years since the bell last rang at the Fame Fire Company at 108 Valley St., in Lewistown. On Tuesday, for the first time since Fame closed, the fire house bell will be heard.
Tim Pavlic, the firehouse caretaker who has been involved with Fame Fire Company since spring 2008, said there will be special memorial bell-ringings on Tuesday at the fire house, to mark the anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
The first bell will ring at 8:46 a.m. and will represent the first plane flying into the World Trade Center. Subsequent bell ringings will symbolize various events throughout the morning, including planes crashing into the second tower, the Pentagon and in a field in Shanksville.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
The currently unused Fame Fire Company building is located at 108 Valley St. in Lewistown
Fame started in 1838, in West Chester, and has more documented history than any other fire company, Pavlic said. It started before the Civil War and the founding of Pennsylvania State University. Fame became incorporated as a charitable organization in 1886.
The Fame Fire Company eventually came to Lewistown, but the local chapter has been shut down for the past five years due to losing its games of chance and liquor licenses. Before that, it was dealing with issues of members not paying fees as well.
Although the building now sits unused, passers-by with watchful eyes may have noticed Christmas lights adorning the fire house last year, indicating that perhaps something was about to happen - but they still did not see the doors open. There was no visible construction, no one coming and going, and yet, a plan was forming in Pavlic's head, and now the caretaker has big dreams for it.
Pavlic went to Lewistown Borough Council and proposed the idea of making Fame's former fire house into a museum. Pavlic said numerous families have asked him for tours but currently he cannot do any better than a short flashlight tour.
Pavlic has plans to restore the bell tower, the front of the building and then the interior. The proposed museum will display artifacts, automobiles and plenty of different fire apparatuses. The Fame building in Lewistown is one of very few fire houses that still has the original pole, which firefighters would slide down to move quickly from the upper level to the lower level of the building.
Should the plans be approved, the proposed museum would be available for the public to use for meetings or events. There is a kitchen, where meals can be prepared for fundraisers, weddings and banquets.
"The building will be there for the community." Pavlic said.