For any old- timer or a Hawthorne original, this is fondly referred to as ‘the noon whistle,’ having an identity all to itself as it anchors the middle of town. Secured on the old fire station lot, it would be easy to overlook the combination of wires and boxes fastened to a tall pole, but to most there is a sentimental attachment.
Sadly, the expected mid-day alarm has vanished over the past several months. The Independent-News began receiving emails for this column regarding “their whistle.” Many were concerned that another Hawthorne custom was going by the wayside.
“The workings are still there,” according to Eric Hamrey of the Mineral County Public Works Department. “The whistle is currently not working and there are quotes coming in to price out a new box, but it seems that half the town doesn’t want it fixed and half the town wants it back. We aren’t sure what to do about it.”
This Hawthorne historic whistle was once part of the original fire station site. There was talk about moving the whistle down to the current fire station, but the community decided to keep its beloved tradition right where it stands.
Donna Oberhansli from the Public Works also shared that indeed, the whistle did mysteriously go off several times due to the recent storm reaching its location, which surprised many. “With the heavy weather it may have moved a shorted wire or power surged, but despite what we think about it being broken, our whistle went off on Friday.”
One of Hawthorne’s long term residents, Tony Hughes, shared that fellow church goers said it was an “act of God” hearing that whistle sound out a warning.
So, whether you declare that the noon whistle is a priceless fixture worth fixing, (which is what all 47 voting individuals unanimously said on our newspaper website when we posed that question), or if you believe that old whistle is trying to make its own courageous comeback, we have to ask, “What’s up with that?”
Let us know what you think about it.