Remembering the Bells of the El Camino Real Old Mission Route

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South Pasadena Review 08-25-2016 Remembering Bells El Camino Real Old Mission Route 002THROWBACK THURSDAY – South Pasadena is known for its rich history dating back to the late 1800s which comprised of many influential women.

One such resident, A. S. C. Forbes, is responsible for the placement of mission bells along the roadside of the El Camino Real old mission route. Forbes designed the first cast-iron bells in 1906 and by 1913, a reported 450 bells were in place along the El Camino Real. The restoration of the crumbling Missions, and the building of replica missions out of sugar cubes and balsa wood by seemingly every 4th grader in the California school system cemented the Mission legend in our culture. Part of its appeal was the story of the “El Camino Real” (the King’s Highway) – a road that connected the Missions by a day’s horseback ride along the 600 miles from San Diego to San Francisco. Most of us can remember childhood car trips north along Highway 101, catching a glimpse of the enigmatic bell markers of the El Camino Real spaced along the side of the road. Mrs. Forbes established the California Bell Company in 1907 and sold the company in 1948.

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