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Historic McCall mill whistle will sound again as part of new art piece

McCall City Council unanimously voted to approve Mill Whistle as the city’s latest public art piece.

Mill Whistle will be in Brown Park near the shoreline. An area where five mills once stood and later burned down. Artist Amy Westover says that one of the few items that survived the fires was the mill whistle. 

“I just really became fascinated with this object,” Westover said during the city council meeting. “As a way of being able to utilize it into a public art piece that would sort of bring back that bygone era of the mill and the history of that important industry in the early years of McCall.”

Westover says that while working on the art piece she learned mill whistles are rare to find. The McCall whistle has a 12-inch diameter. Westover said that this size should mean the whistle has a nice sound.

“The idea here is really to restore the whistles, create a sculptural component that will house it and hold it and then get it to actually blow with steam,” she said.

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The sculpture will stand 15 feet tall. The whistle won’t sound without special portable equipment, and will only blow two-to-four times a year on special occasions. The public will help determine what the special events are.

“We’re very proud of our history and want to capture some of that,” McCall Mayor Bob Giles said. “This is an amazing thing that you have come up with. The functional artwork and the tie to history is just fantastic.”

Westover, of Boise, designed several prominent art pieces. She built the Grove St. Illuminated Canal. And the glassy art piece upstairs at the Boise Airport. Even those metal planets on the ground in Bodo.

The McCall Redevelopment Agency granted $85,000 to commission Westover to have the entire project completed by September 30, 2021. 

Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Ketchum, McCall and general news. Contact her at [email protected].

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