Saturday, November 29, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bell reunited with schooner sailing Puget Sound

Bell Reunion

In an undated photo Walt Plimpton, left, Center for Wooden Boats board member and Ken Greff, right, Sound Experience board president discuss the return of the schooner Adventuress' bell, in the foreground, at the docks at the Center for Wooden Boats, in Seattle. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Greg Gilbert)

By
From page OSF9 | July 10, 2014 |

SEATTLE — In 1936, a San Francisco police-boat captain gave a young boy a bronze bell engraved with “Adventuress 1913.”

Ten-year-old Nick Lemos didn’t know it, but the gift was a bribe. He was given the bell to keep his grandmother’s affair with the captain a secret.

Lemos, 87, held on to the bell ever since. He didn’t know what had become of the Maine-built schooner – that it had been classified as a National Historic Landmark and was now part of an environmental-education program for kids.

This spring, the San Francisco family did a quick online search and found Adventuress was still sailing – on Puget Sound.

“I think I have your bell,” is the message Lemos left on the voice mail of Sound Experience, the nonprofit that owns the vessel.

Catherine Collins, executive director of Sound Experience, said no one knew Adventuress’ original bell was missing until her organization got the call from Lemos.

“We get to hear and touch a bell people heard a hundred years ago,” she said.

Adventuress was launched in 1913 in East Boothbay, Maine, for Arctic voyages with the American Museum of Natural History, and later used by the San Francisco Bar Pilots as a guide boat for ships maneuvering their way through treacherous waters near the Golden Gate Bridge.

The bell has been with Lemos throughout his life.

It stayed with him when he was drafted into the Navy during World War II. It followed him through his multiple homes in California, and it once was buried deep in mud for six months after a terrible storm.

During a recent family argument over cleaning the bell with household chemicals and whether the artifact could be significant, Lemos’ sons decided to Google it.

Mike Lemos, 64, stopped his father right before he could wipe away more than a hundred years of history.

“I didn’t know what it was worth, but I knew the value was in the age,” Mike Lemos said.

On all sides, the 15-pound bronze bell is covered with a bluish-green patina.

Lemos joked that he didn’t mean to have it for so long. He said whenever he was looking for something else he would run into the bell.

“It’s just something you hold on to, like an old pair of shoes you like,” he said.

Collins said that when she first heard Lemos’ story, “the hairs on the back of my neck” went up.

It’s believed that the bell went missing in 1915 after the San Francisco Bar Pilots were installing an auxiliary engine and a fire broke out. To save the vessel, the bar pilots sunk Adventuress.

During its restoration, the bell somehow landed in the captain’s hands.

Lemos, who is retired from his bookbinding business, kept the bell on the back porch of his vacation home in Clearlake, Calif.

The family would ring the bell to call everyone in for cocktails.

Collins drove down to San Francisco to retrieve the bell, and once she laid eyes on it, she cried.

“I was so moved in knowing that something was going to come back to our community that was tremendously meaningful, that told our history and that told our story,” she said.

Mike Lemos said as soon as he saw Collins, he knew they couldn’t keep it.

“The value was in the memories they had for the bell,” he said.

Sound Experience invested about $1.2?million in Adventuress.

“The bell is a symbol of the boat,” said Roger Ottenbach, owner of Cuttysark Nautical Antiques in Seattle. “The few we have are real treasures.”

Few wooden ships from that era remain in operable condition, he said. Most are either wrecked or their wood is rotted from sea worms.

“What am I going to do with a bell?” Lemos said. “It should be up there with the boat, that’s where it really belongs.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Woman advocates for those with pain syndrome

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Police ID man killed in Thanksgiving Day shooting

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Police: Man stabbed while working late

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

    Dixon man arrested after Vacaville home break-in

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Tobacco sting nets 6 arrests

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    Police arrest man shortly after car stolen

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Police seek suspect in store robbery

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    Black Friday brings out thrifty shoppers

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Fairfield police log: Nov. 27, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    Suisun City police log: Nov. 27, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

    Fairfield police log: Nov. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

     
    Suisun City police log: Nov. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

    Weather for Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B11

     
    .

    US / World

    Inside Kobani: Devastation mixed with optimism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    California delegation loses wealth of experience

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Audit: Police officer disciplined for texted photo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Huge fire destroys Southern California pallet yard

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Meningitis advisory at California university

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Suspected killer’s note revealed in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Couple robbed, kidnapped at Berkeley lookout spot

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    14 arrested after chaining themselves to trains

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Man dies after being shot with stun guns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Judge: No more delay to enforce gun ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    .

    Opinion

    Destruction of a great nation

    By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

     
    Why accept mediocrity for entertainment?

    By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

    .

    Living

    .

    Entertainment

    .

    Sports

    Hogan leads Stanford’s 31-10 upset of No. 9 UCLA

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Vikings open season with 62-42 victory over Mustangs

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    A’s trade All-Star Josh Donaldson to Toronto

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Speights leads Warriors over Hornets 106-101

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Parker leads Spurs over Kings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Eisner: NFL team would boost downtown Los Angeles

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Coleman leads No. 11 UNC over No. 5 Stanford 70-54

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Westbrook scores 32 in return; Thunder beat Knicks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Bowl bid on line for Cal in finale vs BYU

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Mickey Rourke wins exhibition bout in Moscow

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Raiders won’t have Murray against Rams

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Kings protest of Nov. 13 loss denied by NBA

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Ray Rice wins appeal; NFL suspension vacated

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    49ers emotionally reeling after embarrassing loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sports on TV/Local sports for Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 29-30

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

    This date in sports history for Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Business

    Black Friday gets a little less frenzied

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    S&P 500 slips as crude oil sinks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Growers grateful for higher Christmas tree prices

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

     
    .

    Comics

    .

    Home Seller 11/29/14

    Real estate transactions for Nov. 29, 2014

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2