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Tallahassee remembers the launch of the ship that bore its name

A large metal bell with the word "Tallahassee" engraved on it.
Tom Flanigan
/
WFSU Public Media
Since 2010, the bell from the U.S.S. Tallahassee has occupied a place of honor in front of City Hall.

A City Hall ceremony honoring the only U.S. Navy ship called “Tallahassee” took place Friday, Nov. 5. The vessel’s bell, the only surviving artifact from the ship, already occupies a place of honor in front of City Hall. Community supporter and activist Dave Ramsey welcomed the celebrants to the Commission Chambers after the ceremony was moved indoors because of the cold and rain.

The USS Tallahassee was launched 120 years ago and this bell was on that boat,” he told the attendees, indicating large images of the bell on the video screens around the room.

The Tallahassee’s bronze bell weighs more than 300 pounds. Captain Theron Davis, commander of the nuclear missile submarine USS Florida, said his ship’s bell is a lot more portable.

“We have a much smaller bell, more manageable and can be carried by one person up the ladder and stationed topside.”

The USS Tallahassee was less than 300 feet long and around 3,000 tons. It served mostly as a training vessel, but also saw a bit of combat action in World War I. It was decommissioned in 1922 and ultimately scrapped.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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