So what's up with those bell markers on the 101? The Mission Bell Marker system has existed on the historic El Camino Real route since 1906. The original marker system called for installation of bells one mile apart along the entire length of the El Camino Real. By 1913, over 450 markers were in place, but over the years the bells were removed due to damage, vandalism and theft. In 1959, the Division of Highways was legislatively mandated to maintain the marker system.
Caltrans initiated a plan to maintain the system beginning in 1974, when less than 100 of the original Mission Bell Markers remained. The bells are exact copies of the original 1906 bells; in fact, the original bell molds were used to fabricate the new bells. An average spacing of 1 to 2 miles was sought when identifying the locations. The bells hung on supports in the form of an 11-foot high shepherd's crook, also described as "a Franciscan walking stick".
This keepsake is hand-crafted from ¾” thick wood by our small workshop in Wooster, Ohio, with a detailed front design and a short description on the back. You can set it neatly on a shelf, desk or narrow ledge such as window, door trim, or wainscoting. Group it with other Cat’s Meows to create your own memory of the special places you have visited along the El Camino Real!
Look for Casper, our black cat mascot at the base of the bell pawtiently waiting to cat-ch a ride with you along the trail! He is the sign of an authentic Cat’s Meow!