NC State Memorial Belltower now boasts 55 real ringing bells, a century after first conception

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Friday, May 14, 2021
NC State Memorial Belltower now boasts 55 real ringing bells
Just in time for this year's commencement, Memorial Belltower in Raleigh has 55 working bells and a carillon.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- After approximately a century, the NC State Memorial Belltower is finished and actually has real bells.

A celebration will be held May 14 at 2:30 to show off the completed project and dedicate the area around the iconic structure as Henry Square.

The tower was first conceived in 1920 to honor university alumni killed in World War I. It was largely completed in the 1930s, with a few more elements added in the 40s.

But after all that was said and done, the bell tower did not have any actual bells.

According to the university, the lack of bells was a funding issue. The alumni base at the time was much smaller and consisted mainly of farmers. After the Great Depression and two world wars, extra funding was hard to come by.

But in 2010, students revived the idea of getting real bells inside the bell tower.

After years of fundraising and construction, the project is finally finished.

Memorial Belltower now has 55 bells and a carillon, which is an instrument that harmonizes the bells.

Bill and Frances Henry were key contributors in 2017. Their donation largely helped fund the project. That's why the area around Memorial Belltower will now be known as Henry Square.