South Shore Breaker
Iconic school bell to get new home
Shipwright Brewing Company promotion supports Lunenburg Academy Foundation fundraiser
The Lunenburg Academy Foundation (LAF) is partnering with a local brewer to reach its fundraising target of 1.5 million dollars. The money will be used to preserve and maintain the landmark school building as a National Historic Site and create a permanent display for the building's iconic 650pound school bell, forged in 1895 by Lunenburg Foundry for the Academy's opening.
The bell could be heard throughout the community from the school's bell tower, marking the start of the school day for hundreds of students over decades. In later years, it was rung to mark special occasions. The Academy stopped functioning as a school in
The bell was removed in 2019 and put in storage during renovations to the building. It was refurbished by Lunenburg Foundry as part of the Next Century Capital Campaign. The bell is being used to bring attention to the campaign as the focus of the Saved by the Bell Campaign, which is part of the existing Next Century Capital Campaign launched in the fall of 2019.
Recently, Tom Hayes, LAF board member and chair of fundraising, said 1.4 million dollars has been raised so far during the capital campaign. To continue the momentum toward the $1.5-million target, Hayes approached Lunenburg business owner Adam Bower of Shipwright Brewing Company. Bower agreed to produce a red ale called Bellringer Red in keeping with the fact that the Lunenburg Academy roof is red.
“I always wanted to do a red beer and I like naming my beers after local landmarks or things that have to do with the town of Lunenburg or shipbuilding,” Bower said.
Bower launched the Bellringer Red Promotion on Aug. 3, announcing he would donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every can and pint of Bellringer Red ale to the capital campaign.
“We are not returning the bell to the belltower because it doesn't function anymore," Hayes said. “Whatever we raise (from the Bellringer Red Promotion) will help defray the costs of the new home of the bell.”
“You can enjoy a beer and know you are also supporting a good cause,” he added.
“The Lunenburg Academy played a very important role in the life of the community and its students when it was an active school,” Hayes continued. “Now it's a National Historic Site. Governments and private donors have invested significant money restoring the building.”
“This is a building that is now playing a somewhat different, but a very important role in the community going forward, with an active group of tenants who all bring interesting products and services to the community.”
Bower, who is also the owner of the Grand Banker
Bar and Grill, the Brigantine Inn and Suites and the Old
Fish Factory Restaurant as well as the brewery, was born in Lunenburg. He grew up a block and a half from the Academy, hearing the bell while he and his two brothers attended classes. Bower's greatgrandmother taught at the school; today, his four-year-old daughter attends preschool.
“I get to drop her off there every day,” Bower said.
“It's one of the first things I think of when I think of Lunenburg,” he said of Lunenburg Academy, which was built between 1893 and 1895. The Castle on the Hill, as it is affectionately known by former students, was constructed of wood in the Second Empire style. It was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in
“I compare it to the Bluenose. There is a sense of pride to show people the Academy when they come to town. It's one of the first places I take people. It's the architecture and the history,” Bower said.
“I am really passionate about the building. It's a unique place to tell people you went to school.”
“I am happy to see people donating money to support the cause to keep the building alive and well and in all its glory,” Bower said.
Bower said Bellringer Red has been popular among patrons.
“People were excited to come try it and to support the Academy. They have really enjoyed the beer,” Bower said.
Bower is doubling the size of the second batch of Bell Ringer Red ale, which is available in cans and on tap at the Shipwright Brewing Company and on tap at his restaurants. It is also available at other businesses in Lunenburg.
“One of the reasons I got involved in the tourism and hospitality industry is because of my pride for Lunenburg and my hometown,” said Bower.
“It's a special place to be able to grow up and go to school. And for me to be back home with my own business and raise my daughters in the same community and support my community, that's what excites me and why I love doing what I do.”
To donate to the campaign, go to lunenburgacademyfoundation.com/ or www. facebook.com/lunenburgacademyfoundation/.
For more information, contact Hayes by email at email@example.com or phone 902-441-3827.