Bells to arrive in Jefferson next week

GCNO photo of lowering the striker-less bells last September. The process will be reversed next week.

A 51-year wait for a full carillon atop the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower will end next week. A truckload of bells is expected to arrive on the courthouse square next Wednesday morning at 7 am. The crane to hoist them to the top of the tower will be in place by 9 am and the work will begin.

County engineer Wade Weiss has been working closely with the Verdin Company, on behalf of the Bell Tower Community Foundation, on the project. Weiss briefed the county supervisors on the plans at their May 15 meeting.

The 18 new bells, cast in the Netherlands this winter, are now in New York. They’re expected to be delivered to Verdin in Cincinnati this week. There they’ll be fitted with strikers.

Weiss hopes to unload the bells from the trailer they come from Ohio on to another locally-owned trailer. He wants to be able to keep the bells indoors at night to avoid any chance of damage to them.

He expects it will take three days to hoist all the bells to the top of the tower, where a two-man crew from Verdin will hang them. For Weiss, the safety of the operation is the primary concern.

The supervisors also discussed where the keyboard for playing the carillon will be placed. It is now on a mezzanine inside the tower that can be reached only by stairs. Board chair John Muir took the stairs down from the top last week and thinks they’re unsafe.

That question will need to be settled soon so the electrical work making the bells playable can be completed.


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