Lest We Forget – Helen Putnam’s Petaluma’s 4th of July Tradition

Fourth of July Bell Ringing in PetalumaAlthough former mayor and county supervisor Helen Putnam died thirty-one years ago on July 2, 1984, there are many new comers that have moved to Petaluma that may not know about her public service and many contributions to her local community.  One of my earlier blogs summarized her many accomplishments and was posted on this site, November 4, 201 4, and titled, “Lest We Forget – Helen Putnam.”

One of Petaluma’s historic traditions, the ringing of a bell on the steps of the Petaluma Historical Museum & Library, can be traced back 53 years to 1962. If you want to hear the story behind the bell and the history of this local traditional celebration, please join us at the Museum on Independence Day, July 4th, at 10:30 a.m. The sounding of the bell will take place at 11:00 a.m., and followed with the serving of cookies and lemonade in the Courtyard behind the Museum.

Fourth of July Bell Ringing in Petaluma  2In 1962, the Putnams had the Korbel Bell mounted on an “A” frame, with a rope attached, set up on the front yard of their home. On a nearby oak tree, the American flag and California Bear Flag were hosted, and one of the boys tooted his bugle. The Korbel-Putnam bell was rung 13 times, followed by everybody gathering in the rear garden for lemonade and cookies. Thus started Petaluma’s July 4th. celebration tradition.

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