The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:53 am 
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This post contains all of the information I could find about Holland, Michigans old siren system. Many of these resources are found from the Holland Sentinel.

May 1961 The Proposal: "A letter from Mrs. Harold Ketchum of 1105 Ardmore was presented advocating the use of loud sirens placed in strategic spots for a tornado warning system." (Holland Sentinel).

Sep 1961 The Vote: "A petition was presented requestioning that a tornado and atomic warfare signal system to be installed in Holland." (Holland Sentinel)

Oct 1961 The Results "By a vote of 7 to 2, Council awarded a control for three sirens and two smaller type sirens for Civil Defense alerts to the Graybar electric Co. of Grand Rapids for its bid of $10,752, lowest of three bids submitted.

Mar 1962 Installation begins!: "Work was set to begin next week on the installation of the first of five units to be placed at various point throughout the city. The First unit is to be installed atop the Warm Friend Hotel at Eighth St. and Central Ave. in downtown Holland." (Holland Sentinel). Another source reports that the other 4 sirens would be mounted of 65-foot tall poles.

Apr 1962 All sirens installed/Siren Types: The 5 new sirens have been installed! "Installations at 30th & Central and 23rd & Diekema were the revolving trumpet type in which sound varied considerably." (Holland Sentinel) The trumpet kinds where most likely thunderbolts as the siren at 30th and central as of 2019 is a thunderbolt. "Installations at Myrtle Ave. and at Holland Heights at Eight St. and Cypress Ave. were the stationary type of 24 fixed horns." (Holland Sentinel). The 24 horn type was an XT22. We were never told what model was on top of the Hotel Warm Friend Hotel, but I'm guessing it was an XT22 as well.

Jul 1962 First Test Successful: "Tests of Holland's new Civil Defense alert system were generally successful Wednesday afternoon, although a good share of local residents. felt they were not very loud." (Holland Sentinel). BUT the paper also says the Hotel Warm Friend siren had not been ready for the test yet meaning only 4 sirens went off.

Aug 1962 Warning system will be used for tornadoes: "Holland;s new CD warning system may be used in case tornadoes are actually spotted. City manager Herb Holt reported to City Council Wednesday night. According to an advisory bulletin from the Federal Defense Administration, the "take cover" signal may be sounded to indicate the imminent approach of a tornado. The "alert" signal should not be used to indicate severe weather forecasts. Council concurred in Holt's recommendation to use the "take cover" or the "up and down" siren only if a tornado is actually sighted and confirmed. In such a case, the "take cover" alarm will be given by the officer in charge at the Holland police headquarters.

Jun 1965 Zeeland's new siren: I know this isn't Holland but Zeeland purchased a new tornado siren to be placed on top of their city hall, the whole project would be around $8,000. "The new siren will develop 10 horsepower and will be able to send our four signals. A disaster alert, take cover, all clear and fire call. The siren will replace a smaller unit located ontop of City hall which is currently used by Civil Defense." (Holland sentient).

Apr 1965 New siren!: Council authorized the installation of another Civil Defense siren on the Holland Township fire hall on Chicago Dr. The other siren is located near city hall." (Holland Sentinel). Could not find any information about those two sirens.

May 1966 Old siren removed: "Workers from the West Shore Construction Company removed the old fire siren from the roof of City Hall, last Friday. The siren no longer serves a purpose there since the addition of the new Civil Defense warning siren was put into operation. The wold siren will not be retired, however. But will be overhauled and painted and then placed on top of the water tank on Zeelands west side and will blow simultaneously with the new siren". (Holland Sentinel). I could not find any information about the siren after it was moved to its new home.

Feb 1967 New warning signals: "A new "attack warning signal" for CD warnings only will be a three-to-five minute wavering tone on sirens or a short blast on horns or other devices repeated as deemed necessary. This should only be used for no other purpose than attacks on the nation. The other "attention or alert signal" will be a three-to-five minute steady tone, alerting people to such natural disasters as a tornado alert." (Holland Sentinel).

Nov 1968 Testing Signal: "Holland will test their warning system at 11 am. Friday, for three minutes of sirens starting with the normal alert of a steady blast followed by the wailing (up and down) tone." (Holland Sentinel).

Dec 1972 New Controls: "It was the first test of the sirens since controls were installed in the new police headquarters." (Holland Sentinel).

Not much happens after that. This is because no news-papers after 1972 ish were saved and archived on newspapers.com but as time progresses sirens got replaced with 2001's except the one standing on Central Ave. & 30th which has recently failed a couple of times. We are not sure if Ottawa county will fix it. Also, it seems that a thunderbolt was moved to a location on 40th and Brooks, unknown when that happened. All other sirens were replaced with 2001's. I remember talking with Jeff at the west shore about his team removing the siren on top of the warm front hotel. I will be adding more in the future. Here is a link containing all of the news paper archives that I could find.

July 2019 The Removal / Failure In the first week of July, my dad witnessed the thunderbolt on 40th and Brooks getting removed. Only the RCM remains as of July 5, 2019. Thank you FANDUDE for sending me some pictures of the remains. ALSO the thunderbolt on 30th and Central has failed its test. it’s unknown when the last it ran. It hasn’t rotated in like a year. Will not he surprised if that’s gets removed too, only leaving holland as a 2001 city.

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Last edited by Nudgy on Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am 
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What an interesting post about siren history! But then again, I want to know what kinds of sirens were in Holland. I’m probably guessing thunderbolts or XT22s as you said.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:34 pm 
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I think the 10 HP siren they reference could be the STH-10 that sits in the ballfields.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:57 pm 
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FirenadoEAS wrote: *
What an interesting post about siren history! But then again, I want to know what kinds of sirens were in Holland. I’m probably guessing thunderbolts or XT22s as you said.
FirenadoEAS, You are correct, XT22's and bolts, If you read to the bottom, you will see a link to the newspapers. One of the newspapers contains a picture of an XT22. And the newspapers also mentioned rotating horns. Since there is a bolt sitting in one the original install location, I'm pretty sure it was a system of bolts.

Cheers! -Nudgy

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:59 pm 
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Phone Goat wrote: *
I think the 10 HP siren they reference could be the STH-10 that sits in the ballfields.
Phone Goat,

Should've made this more clear, but on the bottom of the post, there is a link to a google drive folder of all the newspapers. One of the papers actually has a picture of an XT22. And since they only talked about 2 kinds of sirens. I think all of the other sirens were XT22's. My dad even described a 24 horn thing when he was growing up.

Cheers! -Nudgy

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:17 pm 
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Oh dear. I didn't even see the link. My bad

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:42 pm 
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Nudgy wrote: *
the one standing on Central Ave. & 30th which has recently failed a couple of times. We are not sure if Ottawa county will fix it.
That siren's dead, and has effectively been replaced by the 2001 on 35th and College. No idea if there are any plans to remove it but I doubt they're going to fix it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:42 pm 
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Saintjimmeh wrote: *
Nudgy wrote: *
the one standing on Central Ave. & 30th which has recently failed a couple of times. We are not sure if Ottawa county will fix it.
That siren's dead, and has effectively been replaced by the 2001 on 35th and College. No idea if there are any plans to remove it but I doubt they're going to fix it.
Yup today while I was at the 130, another enthusiast who I know places a recorder next to the bolt on 30th and central and it didn’t go off. Only ambiance was heard in the recording. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY The thunderbolt on 40th and Brooks HAS BEEN REMOVED only controls remain as of July 5, 2019

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:01 am 
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Nudgy wrote: *
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY The thunderbolt on 40th and Brooks HAS BEEN REMOVED only controls remain as of July 5, 2019
How unfortunate, that one actually worked fine too. Maybe someone at West Shore knows the fate of the remaining bolt.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:57 pm 
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Where's the link to the newspaper with the XT22 photo?


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