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Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Each hour of the day the fourteen mechanized bells of the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower ring to remind students and faculty of the generosity of two families associated with the University since its earliest days. John Motley Morehead, Class of 1891, first presented a proposal for a bell tower to University President Harry Woodburn Chase in the early 1920s. During the post-war building boom the University remodeled South Building, one of the school's oldest structures. Morehead offered to pay for a bell tower to be placed on top of the old building. The administration declined his offer, seeking to keep the historical integrity of the building.

In 1926 campus officials drew up preliminary plans for what would become Wilson Library. Morehead thought that the roof of the building would be ideal for his bell tower. Louis Round Wilson, the University Librarian, had already decided that his building should be domed. Business giant and librarian faced off, and the former went elsewhere in search of bell tower space. When the University trustees decided to move the flagpole from McCorkle Place to Polk Place, Morehead suggested a bell tower. The administration again declined his offer. By this time Morehead had decided to enlarge his project and enlisted the aid of Rufus Lenoir Patterson II. Finally the University and the two families agreed on a site behind Wilson Library for the bell tower.

Rising 172 feet, the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower is surrounded by a hedge and lawn designed by William C. Coker, botany professor and creator of the campus Arboretum. The tower's belfry once contained a carillon of twelve manually operated bells; now there are ones. The largest bell is inscribed "Governor John Motley Morehead," the tower creator's grandfather, and the second largest bears the name of William Lenoir. Both men played prominent roles in University and state history. Inside the porch-like structure at the tower's base, called the arcade, are plaques honoring other members of the two families

Copyright: Tom Hurley
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 6000x3000
Taken: 06/02/2009
Uploaded: 06/02/2009


Tags: unc; university north carolina; bell tower; belltower; morehead; patterson; chapel hill; nc; north carolina
More About USA

The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.

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