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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Suffolk, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Old City Hall Bell

 
 
Old City Hall Bell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, November 8, 2016
1. Old City Hall Bell Marker
Inscription. This bell was part of the old City Hall constructed in 1891 on Main Street near this site. The City Hall Building had two spires. The southern spire had a four faced clock that was operated by a system of counter weights. This bell was struck as a part of the clock mechanism to sound the hour and half-hour of each day until the City Hall Building was demolished in 1962.

This cast bronze bell identified as the BARE Bell was manufactured at Baltimore Foundry, Baltimore, Maryland in 1885.
 
Erected 1997.
 
Location. 36° 43.727′ N, 76° 34.972′ W. Marker is in Suffolk, Virginia. Marker is on North Main Street (Virginia Route 32) north of East Washington Street (Business U.S. 13), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. The commemorative marker and bell are located in Courthouse Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 126 N Main St, Suffolk VA 23434, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Obici-Oderzo Fountain Marker (within shouting distance of this marker); Mr. Peanut (approx. 0.2 miles away); Booker T. Washington High School (approx. 0.3 miles away); World War II Memorial
A close-up of the marker and bell. image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, November 22, 2016
2. A close-up of the marker and bell.
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Korea and Vietnam Wars Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Civil War Militia of Suffolk and Nansemond County (approx. 0.4 miles away); World War I Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); Spanish War Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Suffolk.
 
Also see . . .
1. Learn how a cast bronze bell is made (Verdin Bells and Clocks website). (Submitted on January 11, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia.)
2. Watch how bells are tuned (Verdin Bells and Clocks website). (Submitted on January 12, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia.)
3. View how a bell tower works (Inside the Clock Tower Building at 346 Broadway on youtube). (Submitted on January 12, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia.)
4. View the 16th Century Tower Clock Project on youtube. (Submitted on January 12, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia.)
 
Additional comments.
1. Tribute to an 1885 Cast Bronze Bell
Once upon a time, an 1885 cast bronze bell hung behind a four-faced clock in a spire-topped turret of a building that
A close-up of the embossment on the bell. image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, November 22, 2016
3. A close-up of the embossment on the bell.
Baltimore Bell Foundry
J. Regester & Sons
Baltimore MD.
1885
PATD July 13 1869
resembled a fairy tale castle, cathedral, or church. A splendid work of metal craftsmanship, that bell was heard but never seen as its tolls marked the passing of time in the City of Suffolk, Virginia.

Saved by preservation, that bell, now known as “Old City Hall Bell,” stands in a position of historical recognition in Courthouse Park in the 100 block of North Main Street. Its installation occurred in 1997, according to Suffolk’s Media and Community Relations Office. For a retired 131-year old relic, it is in excellent, admirable condition.

For over seven decades, from 1891 until 1962, that cast bronze bell held residence in an architecture that photographers captured on film and artists sketched on paper. Few people, if any, wrote about the internal mechanisms that produced the dong of a lone bell behind the walls of its tower. It was a mechanical marvel in the 1800’s.

Old City Hall Bell may not have the historic prestige of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Clock Tower (346 Broadway) in New York City; but it is nevertheless a valuable artifact from the bygone days of Suffolk and Nansemond County.
    — Submitted January 12, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia.

 
Categories. ArchitectureMan-Made Features
 
A view of the bell, looking west. The building in the background is SunTrust Bank. image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, January 1, 2017
4. A view of the bell, looking west. The building in the background is SunTrust Bank.
Looking south down North Main Street. image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, November 22, 2016
5. Looking south down North Main Street.
The marker, bell, and wall mural of Old City Hall (also known as City Market) are at the front entrance to Courthouse Park. Chip Wilkinson, a mural artist and former resident of Suffolk, painted the mural in October, 1998.
A 1920 photo of the City Hall Building. image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of SUFFOLK AND NANSEMOND COUNTY by Frances Watson Clark.
6. A 1920 photo of the City Hall Building.
This is a photocopy of page two in Frances Watson Clark’s book. According to the caption, the photo of the building was taken in 1920. Clark identifies the structure as the Academy of Music. Apparently, the building was known by different names, including that of City Market, during its lifetime.
Looking at a south-eastward angle from the west side of North Main Street. image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, January 1, 2017
7. Looking at a south-eastward angle from the west side of North Main Street.
Traffic headed south has this view of the Old City Hall Bell display.
Looking westward from about midway of Courthouse Park. image. Click for full size.
By Cynthia L. Clark, January 1, 2017
8. Looking westward from about midway of Courthouse Park.
Pictured in the foreground is the Obici-Oderzo Fountain.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on January 11, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia. This page has been viewed 211 times since then. Last updated on January 17, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 11, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia.   7, 8. submitted on January 17, 2017, by Cynthia L. Clark of Suffolk, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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