FEATURE – “Let freedom ring; City commissions work for two sculptures”

TREMONTON – By Jessica Tanner – May 29, 2021

The "Golden Spike Bell" located at the Tremonton City Library - Courtesy photo

There are many ways to enhance beauty in a city and the Arts Council in Tremonton is doing all they can to bring art to the forefront. Their most recent venture is commissioning two bell sculptures from local artist Doug Adams. One is a tribute to Gold Star Families and will be unveiled during the city’s Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 31, at 9 a.m.

“There are people from our valley who have sacrificed their lives for our country and we wanted to recognize all those families who have lost love ones in that service,” stated Tremonton City councilmember Lyle Holmgren. “This is a tribute to all of them. This memorial is non-descript and does not including any names.”

Earlier this year the Arts Council met to discuss ways to increase art in Tremonton. Although murals are planned to happen annually, they decided to do something different.

“I love the idea of branching out and doing a sculpture this year—that would be really cool,” Arts Council Chairperson Leisl Sorensen explained.

Tremonton City councilmember Bret Rohde suggested Adams, who specializes in bells.

“I think the cemetery is a great place for the gold star statue and he could do another by the library,” said Rohde

Adams agreed to create two sculptures for $5,000 with 10% of that being donated to the food pantry. Adams made his first bell 40 years ago and since then has created nearly 5,000 more.

“It has really become a family affair,” he said. “My wife helped me design the first thousand and after that I have leaned on her for design ideas and the glasswork,” Adams said.

When asked about his reaction to being selected as the artist, Adams said, “I was completely flabbergasted and honored. I love doing public commissions like this because they will be there for a long time. I served for five years in the Utah National Guard, while my dad, DeVere, was in the Navy. I even have solider friends, who have lost their lives. I am honored to be a part of this.”

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Dianne and Doug Adams with the "Golden Spike Bell," Tremonton City Library - Courtesy photo

Adams created more mass to the “Gold Star Bell” so it looks big sitting on its pedestal adjacent to the flagpole at the cemetery.

“I want it to speak volumes and stand on its own,” he explained. “The star is the part that makes the biggest statement and is the focal point of the bell.”

He created the star, but Bob’s Body Shop painted it, donating their material and labor.

“It was professionally done so it can stand the test of time and hold up in the elements,” he said.

Below the star are two grinding balls from Nucor Steel that look like canon balls and represent war. On the bell a Tree of Life embellishment is welded on both sides. Adams said, “This symbolizes hope to those who have lost loved ones. This is their hope for a reunion.”

A rock in the shape of a heart placed above the bell is also significant.

“I wanted that to symbolize the families whose hearts were broken by their loss,” said Adams. “We found it in St. George and I knew that needed to go in that piece.”

On May 31, the city will hold their annual Memorial Day program with a special unveiling. There will be speakers, a dedication by veterans, as well as music from the group, Reflections.

For the second sculpture Adams planned to come up with a few options for the city to choose from using different farm equipment and tools. However, he found the perfect supplies when he was given a five-gallon bucket of 150-year-old railroad spikes. “Box Elder County is the home of the Golden Spike Monument so it was clear we needed to celebrate that,” he said, naming this one “Golden Spike Bell.”

Several small slices of railroad track are incorporated above the spikes, as well as old mining tracks. There is even an old pick ax below the bell encompassing the heritage of the transcontinental line.

At the bottom is a big stone that was found in Park Valley. Adams said in Asian cultures they believe the combination of stone and metal have a Zen quality and signifies good fortune.

Adams gives credit to his 17-year-old son Ryan for helping him put it together.

“He was instrumental in this piece,” he said. “We had a good time making it.”

"Golden Spike Bell" sits on a cement pad amongst the flowerbeds at the library. It is located on the west side opposite of the current Peter Pan sculpture.

With enough money in their budget, the Arts Council will also look at doing a mural this year. They have suggested one to represent the Bird Refuge. It will be painted on Studio R’s east wall just above Mack’s Family Drive Inn and will include 3D images with metal birds to create depth.

A sculpture to be revealed on May 31, 2021 at Riverview Cemetery in Tremonton - Courtesy photo

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