The Liberty Bell
Legend holds that on July 8, 1776, the ringing of the Liberty Bell summoned citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The bell arrived in Philadelphia in 1752, purchased for the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). When the bell arrived from England where it had been cast, it developed a small crack on the first ringing, apparently due to some casting flaws. Local foundrty workers ended up breaking up the bell and re-casting it after attempts to repair the cracking failed.
A replacement bell was obtained from England and used routinely to sound the hours while the Liberty Bell was reserved for special occasions. The bell was tolled frequently, leading to complaints from those who lived nearby.
As the British moved to occupy Philadelphia during the war, the bell was removed and hidden under a church in Allentown, so it could not be melted down to create cannons.
After the war, the bell was returned and frequently rang during the following decades. On Washington's Birthday in 1846 the severely cracked bell rang for the final time.
Over the years this icon to freedom traveled frequently to expositions and world fairs. In 1915 the bell traveled cross country by train to San Francisco for an exposition, stopping frequently along the way. In 2003 the Bell was permanently housed in the Liberty Bell Center across from Independence Hall. The 2000 pound bell is owned by the city of Philadelphia and is seen by over 1.5 million visitors each year.
The Bell is located on Independence Mall between 5th and 6th Streets, and is open 9am - 5pm daily. Visitors must first pass through a security screening facility.
Lewis Publishing Company
Copyright 2005 - 2007