Philadelphia – The Liberty Bell

It could also be referred to as ”The Cracked Bell” after its wide, vertical crack which is actually the result of repair work; or ”The Silent Bell” for it has not rung in over 170 years – at least according to The Philadelphia Public Ledger‘s February 26, 1846 publication that records:

The old Independence Bell rang its last clear note on Monday last in honor of the birthday of Washington and now hangs in the great city steeple irreparably cracked and dumb. It had been cracked before but was set in order of that day by having the edges of the fracture filed so as not to vibrate against each other … It gave out clear notes and loud, and appeared to be in excellent condition until noon, when it received a sort of compound fracture in a zig-zag direction through one of its sides which put it completely out of tune and left it a mere wreck of what it was.

The ”mere wreck” has since become a national symbol of democracy, freedom and independence. Its inscription from the Old Testament (Leviticus 25:10) “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof” has inspired civil rights movements such as suffragists who commissioned a replica and called it the Justice Bell,  and abolitionists who gave it its current name – the Liberty Bell.

Removed from the bell tower of the building we know today as Independence Hall, it is on view in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park.

Next stop: Congress Hall & Independence Hall

February 21st, 2017

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