Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bell Chimes Again in Federal Way

When the Federal Shopping Way opened in 1955, one of the major sections to be planned was Old World Square, which was designed as a European village square with small shops and a clock tower. Heinz Ulbricht, the German designer who assisted in the development, later went on to help Leavenworth reconceive itself as a Bavarian-style village. But Federal Way came first, and he designed the yellow building with the clock tower as a replica of the city hall in his hometown of Freiburg, Germany.

The clock tower contained not only a clock, but also a 290-pound bell, cast in Holland, that chimed the musical note E at the top of every hour.

After 1970, Old World Square fell into disrepair along with the rest of Federal Shopping Way. In 1994, two thieves stripped the copper from the clock tower in broad daylight. A year later the clock tower was dismantled to make way for new construction.

Now the bell has been reinstalled in front of the Historical Society of Federal Way's office, and its familiar tone can be heard again. For more information about the bell, see the special report that was researched and written up by Historical Society member Dick Caster. Contact the Historical Society of Federal Way at 253-945-7842 or

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