Washington’s Bells

Suspended above the streets of our capital, the history of our nation is written in bronze. We're compiling the fascinating histories, oral traditions, and lasting legacies of bells in D.C. If you know about one of Washington's bells, share your story with us!

Washington’s Bells: Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon

On a chilly morning in mid-April 1959, a crowd of 5,000 gathered just north of the U.S. Capitol in a shaded grove of stately willow oaks and fluttering Yoshino cherries. With President Dwight D. Eisenhower looking on, former President Herbert Hoover was delivering a poignant eulogy – remarking on a life well lived and a patriot untimely lost. Vice President Richard Nixon, in his role as President of the Senate, stood ready to accept a towering structure to the Capitol grounds.

Washington’s Bells: The Freedom Bell

Perched in front of the soaring, neoclassical Union Station just north of the U.S. Capitol, in a plaza it shares with the colossal fountain and monument to explorer Christopher Columbus, is a 2:1 scale replica of the Liberty Bell: the Freedom Bell. 

Washington’s Bells: Georgetown Lutheran Church

The first concept of a Lutheran church along the banks of the Potomac began in the early eighteenth century, when a group of Lutherans from Germany, having settled in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, migrated to the Potomac Valley. They were enticed by an offer of land from George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. With them they brought their religion, and a sprinkling of itinerant pastors ministered to these settlers from as early as 1733.

Washington’s Bells: Washington National Cathedral

Many exemplary structures rise from the skyline when surveying the cityscape of Washington, D.C., but dominating the hills of upper Northwest sits a neo-gothic masterpiece: The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, or more commonly known to you and me, Washington National Cathedral. Stained-glass windows of richly vivid colors, austere gothic spires, and dramatic flying buttresses create a centuries-old Continental feel that masks its modern construction.

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