Projects In Need Of Support


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.