Market House Bell
This bronze bell hung in the tower of City Hall, on the north end of Market Square, beginning in the 1880s. Rung by the police chief, the bell signaled civic emergencies such as major fires and riots, via a number-based code. An effective means of community alerts in the days before radio, it could reportedly be heard in every corner of the city.
The bell was purchased by the city from McShane & Co. of Baltimore in 1883. At 25 cents per pound, and weighing more than 2,500 pounds, it cost $640.50. A new belfry had to be built to hold the bell, and lighting rods were added. When the new City Hall building was constructed in 1888, the bell was moved there.
After it was removed from City Hall in the 1930s, the bell enjoyed a second life at the Burlington Fire Station in East Knoxville, where firemen struck it with a hammer to signal blackout drills during World War II. In the 1980s, the bell returned to Market Square, where it hung for a time in another market pavilion. It was refurbished in 2005 by McShane, the same Baltimore company that manufactured it.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Man-Made Features
Location. 35° 57.883′ N, 83° 55.15′ W. Marker is in Knoxville, Tennessee, in Knox County. Marker is at the intersection of Union Ave. and Market Street, on the left when traveling east on Union Ave.. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Knoxville TN 37902, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Krutch Park (here, next to this marker); Knoxville's Market House (within shouting distance of this marker); Catherine Wiley (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); James Agee (about 300 feet away); David Madden (about 300 feet away); Gay Street and the Civil Rights Movement (about 300 feet away); Knoxville's Old Custom House / Fiddlin' Bob Taylor (about 300 feet away); Cowan, McClung and Company Building / Fidelity Building (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Knoxville.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 9, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 444 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 25, 2021, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana. 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 9, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.