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Bell on Main Street

Have you noticed the bell located in the little park on the side of the Main Street Courthouse in Placerville? Here are some facts about the Bell and Judge Thomas Maul.

image of the Placerville BellThe Bell
This historic bell has it’s roots on main street, as it was the original bell atop the Belltower in 1865. The bell was cast 5 years earlier in England. Over the next century, the Belltower was disassembled and moved to Cannon Hill, where electrical difficulties in ringing the bell developed. So, it was moved back to it’s original location. Unfortunately, sometime during the move, the bell was damaged and many of the ornamental supports were lost. It was probably during this period in the Belltower’s history that a new, electrically activated bell was installed.

On September 8, 1898, the Bell, as part of a three-day California Admission Day ceremony, rang out three times announcing to the world that the task was complete and the Belltower was being turned over to the citizens of Placerville. Around 1911, the old 1860 Bell was removed from the Belltower and placed to rest in the park on Bedford Avenue on the right side of the Courthouse where it proudly stands today.  

The plaque near the bell reads: Superior Court Judge Thomas Maul 1885 - 1954 Lawyer

click here to view a larger image of the plaque"THIS PLAQUE IS A MEMORIAL TO OUR BELOVED CITIZEN WHO SPONSORED THIS PARK AND MANY OTHER CIVIC IMPROVEMENTS" Landmark Number: 475 Northeast corner of Bedford and Main Streets, Placerville, El Dorado County Official State Plaque 

Judge Thomas Maul

image of Judge MaulSuperior Judge Thomas Maul’s 30 years of residence in Placerville was marked by a record of outstanding community service. He was past commander of the Placerville American Legion post, a past President and chapter member of the Placerville Lions Club, a past District Governor of the Lions Club, a member of the Selective Service Board and Chairman of the World War II Bond Drives.

In 1924, the year following his arrival here, he became a member of the City Counsel and served until 1926. The next year he was appointed Placerville City Attorney and held that post for 25 years, with the short exception period prior to World War II. He served his professional organization as Secretary to the California State Bar Association, representing the District embracing El Dorado County.


Bell Photos Courtesy of Bill Groce
El Dorado County Museum provided excepts from the August 28, 1998 Mountain Democrat article written by Doug Noble about the Belltower History and the excerpts from his obituary of October 27, 1954