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Chime / Manchester University Archives

Manchester to build tower for Chime’s 100th anniversary

Historic campus bells scheduled to come down Aug. 9-11 for restoration

The iconic Manchester Chime, quiet since 2019, will sound again next fall to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Manchester University hired The Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, to take down and refurbish the existing 10 bells, create four additional bells, and build a new tower structure.

Melanie Harmon, MU vice president for advancement, said the plan is to build an open bell tower in the middle of the Manchester University Mall.

For 97 years, the Chime serenaded students on their way to 8 a.m. classes and sounded again at the dinner hour. It also rang out at Commencement, weddings, memorial services and special gatherings such as Homecoming and Alumni Days. It was silenced in 2019 when the Administration Building closed.

Chime Install 1922In the early 1920s, alumni and friends raised $8,700 to purchase the original Chime, created by the McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore, Md. On Aug. 11, 1922, men in white shirts and straw hats pushed the bells into place so that they could hoist the bells up to the tower using ropes and pulleys. 

Verdin is scheduled to remove the 10 bronze bells – which range in weight from 550 to 2,650 pounds – from the Administration Building tower Aug. 9-11 and then restore them. Current plans call for the new tower to be installed next spring or summer, Harmon said. 

She said the central location will make the Chime a visual centerpiece of the North Manchester campus, allow for optimal acoustics and make the structure easily accessible for maintenance.

No longer will Manchester’s Chime players – mostly students – traipse up staircases in the dead of winter to push hand levers in a drafty room directly below the massive bells. The new setup will feature an electronic keyboard that will be played inside nearby Winger Hall. 

The new Chime tower is likely to inspire some new Manchester traditions, Harmon said. 

“The Manchester Chime is steeped in treasured history,” she said. “The sound is like comfort food for alumni, playing in their memories for years after they graduate. The new Chime tower promises to have a similar impact on future generations of Manchester students.” 

For the media
Please contact Melanie Harmon if you want to do a story at MBHarmon@manchester.edu or 260-982-5211.

We have MP3 And WAV recordings of the Chime. We also have more photos. We do not have final drawings of the new tower in its proposed location, but Melanie Harmon said they are in the works. Please contact Anne Gregory in media relations at AGGregory@manchester.edu if you are interested in a recording or more photos.