Whitefish Working Out Kinks with Restored City Hall Siren

Curfew siren returned Tuesday after a year and a half of silence

By Beacon Staff
Whitefish City Hall on May 3, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Whitefish’s historic curfew siren made a triumphant — and prolonged — return Tuesday night.

With the opening of the new city hall, Whitefish restored its traditional 10 p.m. curfew siren, which was quieted a year and a half ago and originally established in 1919. The occasion was hard to miss — it sounded for 60 seconds, much longer than the typical blast.

Whitefish officials say they are still working out a few kinks. City Manager Adam Hammatt said the siren atop the new City Hall has been going off randomly due to a wiring issue. They are also trying to figure out how to shorten the length of time the siren sounds.

Hammatt has asked the community to “please bear with us” until they get the new system figured out.

The siren began blowing its horns to signal curfew in 1919. It was called the “Ding-dong ordinance,” and it originally went off at 9 p.m., according to Whitefish historians.

A few years later, the city changed the alarm to 8 p.m., and in 1944, they bumped it up to its most recent spot at 10 p.m. Before the days of radio pages, the siren went off on fire and ambulance calls. Today, with a mostly paid staff of emergency services personnel, the siren is largely the product of a bygone era. It went silent in 2015 when the old city hall came down.

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