2012-02-23 / Local & State

Tower Bell Again Chiming Hour

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The other famous bell on Independence Square is once again chiming the hours in the historic section of Philadelphia.

The Centennial bell began sounding during a Saturday evening ceremony marking the end of an 18-month rehabilitation project on the tower of Independence Hall, which houses the bell.

Officials at the ribbon-cutting ceremony said the work that began in July 2010 repaired the tower’s exterior and structural framing, restoring it to the original 1828 appearance topping the building in which the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

Officials said an April 2007 investigation revealed that driving rain over the years had rusted iron rods and in turn damaged the pine boards of the exterior wooden siding of the tower, which once housed the Liberty Bell.

So, workers replaced the iron rods with stainless steel and also replaced weathered wood and bricks, stripped degraded paint and applied new coasts, refurbished copper urns and stabilized the large clock faces.

The glass in the clock faces, which dated to the 1970s, was replaced, and the brass hands and numbers were re-gilded and returned to the four faces of the tower. Also re-gilded as part of the $4.4 million stimulus-funded project was the weather vane.

The 1828 tower replaced the original tower, which dated from 1750. The 13,000-pound bell, commissioned for the 1876 Centennial marking the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, includes metal from four cannons – two from the battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War and two from the battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.

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