Bicentennial Bell Garden

Liberty-bell

View of the bicentennial bell by Tom Davies 1976

The Bicentennial Bell

 

In the early 1970s, Independence National Historical Park announced its plan to build a new Visitor Center at 3rd and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. In response, the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company offered $50,000 for the casting of a Bicentennial Bell to hang in the tower of that new Visitor Center. The casting was recommended for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, England (the same foundry that first cast the bell that later became the “Liberty Bell”). Shortly after the Hancock proposal was presented, the British Ambassador to the United States met with NPS officials to propose that the Bicentennial Bell would be a gift from the people of Britain to the people of the United States to celebrate the 1976 United States Bicentennial.

 

In January 1976, the molds for the bell were made. On March 4th, the bell was cast with a mixture of copper and tin during a 16-minute pour. When completed, the bell was 6’ 10” in diameter at its lip and 5’ 6” in height. It weighed approximately 6 tons.

The Bicentennial Bell was given to the United States of America from Great Britain in 1976 in honor of the 200th anniversary of American Independence. The bell, which was dedicated on July 6, 1976 by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was given to show the joint heritage and purposes of the British and American peoples. On that day, Queen Elizabeth II shared her gratitude to America’s Founding Fathers for teaching the British “to respect the right of others to govern themselves in their own way.”

Queen At Bicentennial Bell Ceremony
Queen’s Bell Takeaway Rendering NEW – [one Layer]

The bell was placed in a tower outside of the park’s original visitor center at 3rd and Chestnut Streets and resided there until 2013 when it was removed and placed in storage. Today, we are raising money to renovate the garden at 3rd and Walnut Streets and relocate the Bicentennial Bell to this green space in the park. This project will prominently display the Bicentennial Bell in the garden and make it accessible to the public.  This will be the first time since being hung in the tower that people will be able to walk around the bell and see it up close.  There will also be an outdoor education area in the garden for students and groups to use when visiting the park.

This project will achieve the goal that was set when the Bicentennial Bell was cast in 1976 …… to show the world that two great nations that started in strife and war can become great partners and allies. Help us make the Bicentennial Bell Garden possible and donate today!