The Story of two Church Bells
1906 – Our church family began officially as The Warner Avenue Wintersburg Methodist Church, at the southeast corner of Warner Avenue and Gothard Street, in what was then called Wintersburg. That church building, which, today, is home to an active Baptist congregation, was built with a tall steeple to accommodate a bell, but no bell was initially installed.
1908 – Separately, down on Balboa Island, the Balboa Island Methodist Church arranged for a 150-pound, alloy 24-inch bell to be cast, by the C. S. Bell Company in Hillsboro, Ohio.
1913 – Back up in the Wintersburg area, a 12-inch fire-bell was acquired for the Wintersburg Methodist Church, when the Talbert Fire Station was razed, 10 years after it was built in 1903. This bell was installed in the previously empty steeple at Warner and Gothard.
1932 – Back down in Balboa, The Balboa Island Methodist Church merged with the Newport Beach Methodist Church to form Christ Church by the Sea Methodist Church, which is still active. In 1933 the Balboa Island church was razed and the congregation generously gifted Balboa’s 24-inch bell to the Wintersburg Church. The 24-inch bell replaced the 12-inch Talbert Fire Station fire bell, nineteen years after it was installed in the Wintersburg bell steeple.
1965 – The Warner Avenue property was sold to The Baptist Church. The Balboa bell was moved with the Wintersburg Methodist congregation to its present, newly-built church campus on Heil Avenue and the bell was installed in the new 55-foot bell tower.
1968 – Wintersburg Methodist was renamed to Community United Methodist when the larger Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
2013 – The “Balboa bell” was refurbished and re-installed in a new 55-foot cell/bell tower and, at the age of 105 years, remains the only working bell in Huntington Beach.
Compiled by Lionel Grove – 2013