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N.C. State bell tower may get real bells

Posted April 9, 2009

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— North Carolina State University students are launching an effort to finish the bell tower. The tower was supposed to hold 54 bells, but was never finished because of the Great Depression.

“The memorial is incomplete as it stands,” said Matthew Robbins, an N.C. State graduate student in architecture.

The tower was built as a memorial to the university's 33 World War I dead. The iconic structure was partially completed by 1922. As time passed, alumni tried to raise money to complete the tower, but it was never enough.

After the Great Depression, the government provided the funds to finish the structure, but the bells were never installed. The sound of bells is simulated and piped through a set of speakers at the top of the tower.

“To the alumni, it's sacred ground – it's a memorial. To the students, it's a landmark, it's a gravitation point,” Robbins said.

For decades, the 115-foot landmark has set the stage for campus events such as the annual Krispy Kreme Run.

The tradition of the tower was why students Krystal Matthews and Josh Kinlaw decided to take their engagement photos there.

“It shows how special it is that they light it up in red whenever we win a game. It just goes to show what it means to the university,” Kinlaw said.

Robbins and some other students are trying to raise enough money to install the 54 bells that were part of the original design. Some students who are part of the Class of 2010 want the bell's completion to be their gift to the school.

“I can't think of a more worthy cause for the seniors to donate to this year,” student Jay Dawkins said.

The students don't plan to use any tax money for the bells. It could be a couple of years before real bells replace the recorded chimes and speakers.

Robbins also generated video of the tower to look how it would if it had been completed to its original design intent.

If you would like to donate to the bell, contact the www.ncsubells.com or send an e-mail to ncstatebells@gmail.com.

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  • christopheremcgee Apr 9, 2009

    buco, it helps to learn proper grammar when hurling out frivolous insults.

  • buco Apr 9, 2009

    the bells want make up for sorry BB team

  • LoneWolf72 Apr 9, 2009

    I will be contributing to the cause.
    BSME '95

  • jprime Apr 9, 2009

    This is a landmark that will hopefully be there for centuries. If individuals want to donate so that it can be finished as originally designed, I don't see the harm in that.

  • ambidextrous cat Apr 9, 2009

    Why pay money for noise? I like bells occasionally but 54 is a large amount!

  • statecollegeguy1 Apr 9, 2009

    no prob! any other questions?

  • dbcooper41 Apr 9, 2009

    thanks for the info and correction.

  • statecollegeguy1 Apr 9, 2009

    The AL date on the Tower stands for ANNO LUMINI and it's taken from the Jewish Calendar. The Tower is memorialized for 33 State College men, not 32. 34 names were placed on the tablet, but GL Jeffers was changed to G E Jefferson to represent the fallen solider since they didn't have the funds to get a new tablet with the correct list of names on it since GL Jeffers was incorrectly reported missing in action.

  • dbcooper41 Apr 9, 2009

    mrtwinturbo, next time you are nearby check out the dedication engraving on the northeast corner. i've been told it stands for anno lumina which ties it to an egyptian calender(year of lumination). i think. old memories being recalled here. basically it's a masonic thang which should surprise nobody since masons do what? that's right, they build large stone structures like belltowers. no conspiracy, just a bit of local history.

  • mrtwinturbo Apr 9, 2009

    dbcooper41 I have never seen the dates on the tower, but if there is a date with AL it could mean after the death of Alla? The current year in Saudi Arabia is 1430 AL as opposed to our 2009 AD

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