Didn’t fool anybody: Liberty Bell

Yes, it’s the Liberty Bell, photographed from underneath, with the lights shining through the crack.

I guess it was a lot more obvious than I thought. No one guessed wrong.

This is the bell that resided in the bell tower of the Pennsylvania Statehouse, what we now call Independence Hall. It is the bell that was rung to proclaim the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The bell was cast with several flaws in 1752. It had to be recast shortly after it was delivered, and then cast a third time. It cracked in the early 19th century (legend has it cracking while pealing during the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall — I won’t vouch for that story). It was last rung in 1846, on the anniversary of George Washington’s birth.

Enshrined in art and legend, the bell appeared on the reverse of the Franklin half-dollars (when was the last time you saw any 50-cent piece in circulation?). Reverse of Franklin half-dollar, showing Liberty Bell - Ask.comIt was put on tour after the Civil War in an effort to get the nation reunited around old symbols (but, considering it was first called “the Liberty Bell” by early abolitionist groups, one might wonder how effective was the tour). When I visited it in the 1990s, the bell rested in its own pavilion about a half-block away from Independence Hall. Renovations of the historic site included construction of a new museum, which required the bell to be moved again.

Preservation and restoration experts wondered whether the bell would well survive the move. So the National Science Foundation (NSF) was called in to study the bell and determine whether it could take the stress of the move. NSF’s press release said the bell passed its “stress test.” The story of the measurement is well told, and may be interesting to students. The writer at NSF put in a lot of the history.

The photo is from the NSF team that did the study; it shows the inside of the bell and part of the “spider” support system that helps hold the bell together and support display.

My probably faulty recollection is that we studied the story of the Liberty Bell each year in grades 1 through 5, which in my case includes schools in the states of Idaho and Utah. My baseline U.S. history tests over the past four years show that about half the students I had, in grades 7, 10, 11 and 12, could not identify the bell or tell why it is revered in U.S. history.

Every reader here gets an “A.”

World War II postal cover featuring Liberty Bell

Other Liberty Bell information:

2 Responses to Didn’t fool anybody: Liberty Bell

  1. […] Liuzzi Didn’t fool anybody: Liberty Bell » This Summary is from an article posted at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub on Thursday, August 23, […]


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