Touchdown alarm: Historic Clise bell ready to ring again at Redmond High

Come fall, the Redmond High School (RHS) stadium will be filled with even more noise whenever the football team scores a touchdown as the field once again houses a 1,100-pound bell that will be rung each time the Mustangs cross the goal line.

The Redmond High School (RHS) football field is now the permanent for the Clise Bell

The Redmond High School (RHS) football field is now the permanent for the Clise Bell

Come fall, the Redmond High School (RHS) stadium will be filled with even more noise whenever the football team scores a touchdown.

The stadium near RHS now houses a historic, 1,100-pound bell that will be rung each time the Mustangs cross the goal line.

The Clise Bell, so named because it was commissioned by a woman named Anna Clise, made its return to Walter L. Seabloom Field after a decades-long absence thanks to Logan John. The RHS sophomore was in charge of the bell’s permanent relocation to the field’s southwest corner as a final project for his Eagle Scout award, which he will receive next week.

Logan began the project at the end of summer 2011, saying he chose to establish a permanent home for the bell because he had never seen a project like this done before and also because it was directly tied to his school.

On Wednesday afternoon, a special dedication ceremony was held to mark the bell’s return to the field. In addition to Logan, speakers included RHS associate principal Lloyd Higgins, Redmond Mayor John Marchione, Tom Hitzroth and Christina Himes from the Redmond Historical Society, RHS stadium manager John Bailie and Al Clise, Anna’s great grandson.

Throughout the process, Logan said he learned a lot about how to be a leader, responsibility and how many people and parties can be involved in a seemingly simple task — the Lake Washington School District (LWSD), the historical society and the Clise family.

Logan said one of the biggest challenges of the project was dealing with all the red tape and paperwork and waiting for things to get approved, but really enjoyed things once they were approved.

“I loved seeing this project come together one step at a time,” he said.

Historical society President and former Redmond Mayor Himes said the bell had previously been located on the school’s field in the 1960s and was there while her five children attended RHS.

“We’ve known about the bell for a long time,” she said about the bell returning to the school.

She said the bell was located on the other end of the field back then and since their home was nearby, they always knew when the Mustangs scored by the ringing of the bell.

Himes, who spoke during the ceremony, said like Redmond, the Clise Bell is 100 years old. It was originally commissioned for an Episcopal church near Anderson Park in Redmond by Anna, who owned a farm with her husband James Clise where present-day Marymoor Park sits — known as Willowmoor back then.

Throughout its history, the bell has moved to various locations including the Clise Mansion at Marymoor, Bill Brown’s garage downtown (The Matador restaurant’s current location), where it was used as a fire bell.

With all the moving, Himes said the bell needed a permanent home and called Logan’s project “a stroke of genius.”

“(The bell has) really got a home now,” she said. “It has a real home.”

Al Clise, great grandson of James and Anna, attended the dedication as well and agreed with Himes.

“I think it’s great that it’s here,” he said.

Al admitted that he did not know about the bell until Logan and his family approached them about it. Al said he and his family took this opportunity to learn more the bell’s history and his great grandmother — who founded Seattle Children’s Hospital in 1907 (then known as Children’s Orthopedic Hospital Association). He told the audience that his great grandmother “would be very proud” of where the bell has settled and its new use as a touchdown bell.

“I hope it rings a lot,” he said.

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