Siren Song

Excelsior’s noon whistle helps the city stay on time.

We’ve all been there: The kids are off at the neighborhood park, and you expect them home for dinner—and you hope they’re keeping an eye on the time. Thankfully, the city of Excelsior still operates its historic siren, which rings daily at noon, 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Operating since 1923 from the top of the original Excelsior Village Hall, the siren once had an additional function. “Back in time, when there were no pagers or electronics like we have today, the way firefighters knew if there was a call was that the siren went off,” says Excelsior Fire District’s fire chief Scott Gerber. It was moved in 1947 when the new fire station was built, and that’s where it currently sits.

The siren now is equipped with a baffle (a kind of damper), so it’s not quite as loud, and it no longer serves as a call for firefighters—but it’s still very handy for letting us know when it’s time for dinner.