Unveiling of the Memorial Tower Bells


April 2nd, 2012
University Brickyard by DH Hill Library
5:00 - 5:45 PM following Harrelson Lecture

Click here to view an invitation and RSVP

We are celebrating these bells arrival in conjunction with NC State's 125th anniversary! These first bells are part of the 5-bell Westminster Chimes set that will be the first into the tower. Currently they will reside at DH Hill Library until the set is complete and the tower made ready for their arrival. Please call Jay Dawkins (919-432-5293) or Matt Robbins (336-692-1124) if you'd like to learn more about the remaining bells and opportunities to give.



Finish the [Bell]Tower" is a student-initiated grassroots movement to finally finish the Memorial Tower on North Carolina State's Campus. The campaign is first aimed at student involvement, secondly the alumni, and finally the community. The movement seeks to raise money through donations and the selling of shirts to students to install the 54-bell carillon into the Tower as originally designed in 1920.

Due to the Great Depression, funding dwindled to almost nothing and the Alumni Memorial Committee and the students at the time only raised enough money to install a temporary speaker system to ring in the Tower until real bells could be installed.

Secondly, the movement seeks to once again re-invigorate the lost unified voice of the student body. If students only realized the amount of power and influence they had in speaking with one voice - the NC State university experience would be well on its way to evolving into a new paradigm of college learning; student driven. The only real example we have of mass unification today is when thousands of students are rallying the Wolfpack in RBC or Carter-Finley on to another win. It's time for that voice to be unified and heard loud and clear as a call to action. This project seeks to amplify that voice and enable students to connect to it.

 

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

A flythrough of the tower as it was designed in 1920 (right) compared to the current tower (left). Things not in the current tower include: bells, bell playing console, glass clock faces, spiral stair.

Credit: Modeling and rendering by Matt Robbins

 

This is the first fragment of the tower and how it looked in 1924.

Source: University Committee Records 1933-1993, University Archives, North Carolina State University Libraries,
Raleigh, North Carolina. Memorial Tower Committee UA 22.1, Box 94,95.

 

Once the Great Depression was in full swing, the Tower sat like this: unfinished for over a decade.The US Government completed the exterior in 1936-37 through an antiquated stimulus package from President Roosevelt called the Works Progress Administration.

Source: University Committee Records 1933-1993, University Archives, North Carolina State University Libraries,
Raleigh, North Carolina. Memorial Tower Committee UA 22.1, Box 94,95.

 

In a letter from the Chairman of the Memorial Tower Committee to WH Deacy, the architect, you can clearly see that the 'false speaker system' was meant to be temporary until money for real bells could be secured. The amplified speaker system still sits in the Tower today.

Source: University Committee Records 1933-1993, University Archives, North Carolina State University Libraries,
Raleigh, North Carolina. Memorial Tower Committee UA 22.1, Box 94,95.

 

This is the original purchase order draft for the first 10 of 54 bells dated 29 December, 1920. It was never formalized and signed.

Source: University Committee Records 1933-1993, University Archives, North Carolina State University Libraries,
Raleigh, North Carolina. Memorial Tower Committee UA 22.1, Box 94,95.

 

In 1947, the Student Government, through a referendum vote of the entire student body, passed an act that relinquished of all of their student tickets to be sold to the public for the NCSU-Davidson game. Ninety-eight percent of the student body voted in the affirmative. All the revenue from those sales went to the bell fund for the tower. Still, after senior class gifts and money from games, the committee were still only able to afford the 'electric bells,' falling short of the several thousand dollar goal to get real bells into the Memorial as originally planned. If this feat were done today by students for just one home game, the entire carillon would be practically paid for.

Source: University Committee Records 1933-1993, University Archives, North Carolina State University Libraries,
Raleigh, North Carolina. Memorial Tower Committee UA 22.1, Box 94,95.

 

The Tower's architect visited the college grounds to discuss where it would be located. This is the first time the 54 bell carillon at the top of the Tower was mentioned to the public. Had the Tower been constructed with it as planned and finished in 1922, it would have been the largest carillon on the planet until the 74 bell carillon was installed in NYC's Riverside Church was donted by JD Rockefeller and dedicated to his mother. That sounds like the 'precedent setting' NCSU that I know. It's good to know that attitude was there even back in the 1920s.
Source: Alumni News. Author: Edwin Bently Owen, 1918-1922.

 

 

 

Logo and T-shirt design: Alex Ford
Site design: Biko Tushinde