WALLINGFORD — The bells were tolling for two minutes Saturday afternoon marking an Independence Day tradition at the Wallingford Historical Society.
The organization hosted its 47th annual July 4th bell ringing at the Samuel Parsons House to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Society president Raymond Chappell spoke briefly to the crowd of about 50. He also read Gov. Ned Lamont’s July Fourth proclamation followed by Bob Beaumont giving a brief talk about one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. This year he spoke about New Hampshire’s Josiah Bartlett. Before the bells, everyone said the Pledge of Allegiance.
The bells were rung right at 2 p.m. Mayor William Dickinson Jr. was one of the bell ringers, he rang the biggest of the bunch which used to hang on Wallingford’s old Town Hall. The bell was cast in 1869 and weighs about a ton. There were also smaller bells in action, each formally used at various Wallingford schools.
After the bell ringing, the Star Spangled Banner was played.
Typically, there is a picnic preceding the event, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that was canceled.
“My wife (Pat) and I decided that even if no one came we would come down and at least ring the big bell at 2 p.m. because that has the most history,” Chappell said. “But luckily we were able to have the event and have people show up.
“These are Wallingford bells and this is Wallingford,” he added. “We are Wallingford. We are Wallingford’s attic.”
Chappell said residents and non-residents are welcome to join the Wallingford Historical Society. Membership is $5 a year. A lifetime membership is $50.
Also this year, author Beth Devlin was on hand. A book she co-authored, “Wallingford’s Historic Legacy” was on sale for purchase.