One of America's most famous, instantly recognized icons, this bell was cast in London in 1751. The inscription reads "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (from the Bible, Leviticus 25:10). It arrived in Philadelphia the next year, where it soon cracked. It was recast, cracked again, and recast again.
On July 8, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to the people gathered in front of Independence Hall. The rebellious colonists rang the bell to celebrate the event. During the war, it was hidden.
Afterward, it was replaced in the tower of Independence Hall. But it eventually cracked again. Since 1976, it's been on public display at the Liberty Bell Pavilion. Admission is free, but lines tend to be rather long.
The bell is mostly copper and tin, with small amounts of other metals. The yoke is made of American elm (also called slippery elm). It weighs just over a ton.
OK OK OK ... Its just a bell. It's a famous bell, but it's just a bell with a crack in it. When the US declared independence from the British Empire, this is the bell that rang to proclaim the act. Ironically, it was forged in England. Still, the Liberty Bell is one of the most famous national symbols of the USA. The pavilion itself is not the stuff of legend. It's crowded, kids are screaming, and you'll never get a picture without a ton of people in the background, but its also the symbol of Philadelphia.
Security here is extremely tight, worse than in airports. The attraction is, however, free.
Near Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell. You do not need a ticket or to go through security to get in to see it. There is an excellent museum here that gives you information about the Liberty Bell and it's history then you go in to see the actual bell. It's very impressive.
The Liberty Bell has been housed in its new pavilion since 2004, directly across the street from Independence Hall. On a cold but sunny Thursday in January there were few visitors. After a security check, we strolled through the one-story building and read the information posted. After a few minutes we came upon the famous cracked bell. One of our party commented that it was small, but nevertheless, a great symbol.
The Liberty Bell is famous because it was rung on 8 July 1776 to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. It was originally designed and constructed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, which served the role as Pennsylvania's first constitution. His charter granted religious freedoms, allowed average citizens to partake in lawmaking, and had a liberal view of Indians, therefore, the quote inscribed on the bell was particularly apt "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." This quote earned even more meaning after the bell was rung to announce the Declaration of Independence.
The original bell was cast at Whitechapel Foundry in London, arrived in Philadelphia in 1752, then was hung is 1753, but cracked upon its first ringing. John Pass and John Stow of Philadelphia recast the bell twice with a bit of copper for strengthening, and it was rehung later the same year. Throughout the upcoming years it was rung to announce many events such as the Stamp Act meetings, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the meeting of the First Continental Congress. When the British occupied Philadelphia in 1777, the bell was hidden at the Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, so as to prevent the British from using the metal for cannon balls. The actual time the famous crack occurred is unknown and still debated by historians.
The Liberty Bell is now housed in a new building with airport-style security along with airport-style lines. To avoid the wait, head around to the side of the building facing Independence Hall and you can see the bell through the glass.
What a piece of American history! I read a tip on VT by someone who considered the Liberty Bell a tourist trap. I couldn't disagree more! The secret is in its history and in why it has become an American icon.
We have a special interest in the bell because it was ordered by one of our ancestors, Robert Charles, who was a colonial delegate to England's Parliament for Pennsylvania and New York. He ordered it from Whitechapel Foundry in England, and it arrived in Philadelphia in 1752.
The bell was hung in the new State House (now Independence Hall) and went through a little change being recast and rehung in 1753 by Pass and Stow. In 1776 American declares its independence from England, and the British are occupying Philadelphia by 1777. The bell (along with others) was secretly transported via wagon to Allentown, PA. over what is now termed "The Liberty Trail Route." (This route passes through Sellersville where Schulmerich Carillons produces handbells. They have huge bells on display and give free tours of the factory...)
The reason for this is because the colonists didn't want the British Army to turn it's weight of 2,080 pounds of metal into shot. (The bell consists of 70% copper, 25% tin, and traces of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver.) In 1778 the British soldiers left Philadelphia and the bells were returned.
You can see this piece of American history in the Liberty Bell Center where the bell is on display, hanging on its original yoke made from American elm.
The bell didn't receive its current name until 1835-1838 when a publication named it the "Bell of Liberty" or, "The Liberty Bell." However, the monument embodies the ongoing struggle for freedom, and it serves as a reminder of how fragile liberty can be.
The Liberty Bell is housed in a large building filled with displays honoring the bell, its history, and how it symbolizes freedom throughout the world. Beautiful displays, though not interesting for children. They just want to see the bell. I read that it is housed in a plasic case, not so anymore, it is simply roped-off so that you can't get close enough to actually touch it or harm it.
Be prepared for a long line.
open daily 8-5 with extended hours in the summer
We had a very short but interesting trip to see Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell Center was opened in October, 2003. On every Fourth of July, at 2pm Eastern time, children who are descendants of signers of the Declaration of Independence symbolically tap the Liberty Bell 13 times while bells across the nation also ring 13 times in honor of the patriots from the original 13 states.
If you visit Philadelphia, you owe it to yourself to the Liberty Bell. It is an important icon in U.S. history and it is here on display at the Liberty Bell Center. You can actually see it without going inside but it is much better inside wherer you can get upclose and check it out. If you come on a hot and humid day, visit early in the morning before the crowd gathers as you might have to stand outside and wait before you get in.
Call me unpatriotic - but I didn't see the Liberty Bell while I was in Philly. I just wasn't interested in the lines and the heavy security "thing".
As the Independence National Park brochure available at the Visitors Center states: "The Liberty Bell cracked long ago, but as an icon of freedom its voice has never been stilled. To Americans who demanded independence on this site, and to those who even now seek self-determination, it still declares 'Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof." Its crack is a reminder the liberty is imperfect, hopefully evolving to including those who have been denied full participation in a democratic society."
(Ah, but it takes more than a "hopefully evolving" to secure liberty.)
Unlike Independence Hall, the world-famed Liberty Bell is mobile and from time-to-time has made its circuit around the United States. In the 1890s the bell even included the still fuming Southern States on its American tour, and in James Longstreet's view helped heal some of the ill-feelings within the former Confederacy. Today the Bell sits in its own visitor center by a window where both the bell and Independence Hall are visible. Visitors navigate through lanes of airport-type security before reaching a hallway wherein old relics, notices and information placards marshal you to the Bell. Visitors are free to march right up and touch this national treasure, though most have to stand back out of courtesy as other visitors adorn the Bell with constant snapshots.
The new Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park has good exhibits outlining the days leading up to the revolution, as well as the history of the bell. At the end of the exhibition hall is the giant, cracked Liberty Bell. Admission is free, but going through security before entering the center is a pain.
You will have to go through the metal detector just like an airport to see the liberty bell. You must go through liberty bell hall to get across the street to Independance hall. There are some nice exhibits here on the bell.
On the Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania is misspelled "Pensylvania." This spelling was one of several acceptable spellings of the name at that time.
A funny joke!
As an April Fools’ joke in 1996, Taco Bell ran a full-page advertisement in national newspapers claiming to have purchased the Liberty Bell. The stunt made national headlines.
The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds. The yoke weighs about 100 pounds.
From lip to crown, the Bell measures three feet. The circumference around the crown measures six feet, 11 inches and the circumference around the lip measures 12 feet.
The Liberty Bell is composed of approximately 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and traces of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver. The Bell is suspended from what is believed to be its original yoke, made of American elm.
Unfortunately, the clapper cracked the bell on its first use. A couple of local artisans, John Pass and John Stow, recast the bell brittle and then adding silver to sweeten its tone. No one was quite satisfied, but it was put in the tower of the State House anyway.
While it remains unknown what exactly caused the first crack in the Liberty Bell, presumably every subsequent use caused further damage The ringing for Washington’s Birthday made the crack grow and officials resolved to never ring the bell again.
HOURS Liberty Bell Center Museum
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“Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” - inscription upon the rim of the Liberty Bell
If you go to Philadelphia you must see the Liberty Bell. I suppose I would have to say it is a bit of a tourist trap, but of course, it doesnt cost a cent to go see it.
You will however have to submit yourself to a full security search to get into the building.
It was really fascinating to learn all the history of the bell: Like it was actually made in England in 1750 , not here in what was the the Colonies. Although when when it cracked it was recast and repaired here. The large crack that you see isnt actually the crack in the bell, that is the work that was done to stop the crack from spreading.
And most surprising to me; Although the bell was rung in 1776 to announce the reading of the Declartion of Independence, the bell wasnt symbolic of America's Liberty during the revolutionary war. It wasnt adopted as a symbol of liberty til much later. The anti-Slavery movement and the Women's Sufferage movement used it's words as inspiration and adopted it for their cause.
In it's early life, it was simply the bell that hung in the tower of what is now Independance hall, but was then the Pennsylvania State house. When it cracked it was replaced by another bell, and only then did it begin to take on more significant meaning.