Liberty Bell: Journey to San Francisco

Salt Lake Tribune, July 12, 1915


Liberty Bell has come and gone, but the spirit remains.  The bell itself is merely a symbol, but its voice is still proclaiming liberty to all the world.  The notes it rang out in 1776 never will cease reverberating while time shall endure.  The y shook the tyrant on his throne in that sacred year, and today there are less tyrants in the world than there would have been had the bell never proclaimed its message to mankind.

The greatest multitude ever assembled in Utah gathered to pay homage to Liberty Bell.  It was a demonstration of patriotism which gives every true American confidence and hope.  As they gazed upon the bell old and young recalled its significance.  They thought of the Boston tea party when struggling Independence first flung desperate defiance in the teeth of ancient and vested Injustice.  They though of Bunker Hill, of the terrible winter at Valley Forge, and of the victory at Yorktown which gave a nation of freemen to the world, a nation that was destined to be the most powerful in those ideals of liberty, justice and humanity which today are pitted against the doctrines of embattled might.

First we fought for freedom.  Today we are fighting for justice and humanity.  In ’76 we lifted that torch high above the world so that all men might see and seeing, pay homage.  And in spite of reaction in some quarters of the globe that light has not been extinguished, but it enlightening all the world.  And now we have lit in the heavens the torches of justice and humanity.  May their light ever be extinguished and may we be able to convince the nations of the world that it is better to follow whereto those torches lead than to conquer the entire world and to rule it.


San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine, July 18, 1915

Liberty Bell Comes 3000 Miles TO VISIT the EXPOSITION

“PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the LAND unto all the inhabitants thereof.”—Lev., xxv : 10

Three thousand miles across the continent, bearing on its crown those Scriptural words that did so much to make this the United States of America, comes the Liberty Bell, most treasured relic of the American Republic.  Bringing with it undimmed memories of the past, it has left the peaceful quiet of Independence Hall in Philadelphia to invade the supremely modern precincts of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, that all who will may see the visible token of a Nation’s independence.

Cracked and, silent, and victim of a strange metal disease which metallurgical engineers say may cause it to fall to pieces before it can be taken back “home,” it is making its eighth trip since it was first hung “to proclaim liberty throughout all the land.”  And perhaps more persons have viewed it on this occasion than on all its other trips put together.  On its way to the Pacific Coast it stopped in all the principal points in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California.

Never before has the Liberty Bell been so jealously guarded as now.  A whole force of experts and guards is with it, and every effort has been made to insure its safety from further cracking or disintegration.


The first time the Liberty Bell left its shrine in Philadelphia was when it was conveyed to Allentown, to forestall the British.  Its first official journey, however, was in 1885, when it traveled through the South to New Orleans, greeted by remarkable demonstrations all along the route.  After this journey it was promised that the Bell would never be taken out again, but in 1893 this resolution was broken in order to carry the relic to the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago.  Its next trip was to Buffalo, in 1901.

For a second time the bell went through Dixie when it was taken to Charleston in 1902.  It traveled by way of Harrisburg, Chambersburg, Roanoke, Johnson City, Asheville and Savannah to Charleston, returning by the way of Richmond and Washington.  Every town and village on the way turned out, and it is estimated that 2,000,000 persons saw the bell.  Then it went to Boston in 1903, where it was escorted to the Bunker Hill monument by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery.

The most extensive journey takes by the Liberty Bell was in 1904, when it went to the St. Louis Exposition by a winding route through the states of the Middle West, which took it up into Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Since the return of the bell from its trip to St. Louis, in 1904, the crack that has disfigured it was widened and extended alarmingly.

Says Alexander E. Outerbridge Jr., who holds the chair of metallurgy at Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, and acts as the relic’s “doctor”:

“It is no hyperbolical figure of speech to say that the venerated Liberty Bell is afflicted with a serious disease.  Metallurgists have adopted into their technical phraseology the term ‘diseases of metal,’ and recognize several such maladies.  I myself have no hesitation in saying that the bell has a distemper which should insure its most careful preservation from all chocks such as it would be subjected to on a long journey.”

Despite the warning of Mr. Outerbridge, the Councils and the Mayor of Philadelphia felt they owed a patriotic duty to the West, so the historical started on its trip that thousands might gaze upon it in reverence, respect and awe.


The Liberty Bell was cast by Lester & Cist, in Whitechapel, London, by order of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, as an outgrowth of the celebration in Philadelphia, in 1751, of the fiftieth anniversary of the city’s second charter.  This committee intrusted with the ordering of the bell chose the Biblical line which was cast as the inscription.

From the beginning the bell seemed doomed.  Only a month after its arrival in Philadelphia, in August 1752, while it was being tested, it cracked.  It was recast in a Philadelphia foundry conducted by John Pass and Charles Stow Jr, with the addition of more copper to render it less brittle, but when tested again in the spring of 1753 it was found to be toneless, because of too much copper in the metal.  So it was recast again by the same foundry.

While Pass & Stow were busily engaged in recasting the bell, the Assembly of the province came to the conclusion that their task was hopeless.  So the Assembly ordered a new bell, one exactly like that originally sent from England.  When it arrived and was compared to that which Pass & Stowe had recast, the latter was deemed better.  It was accordingly hoisted in the steeple of Independence Hall during the week of June 1, 1752.  What became of the second bell from abroad is no known.

On August 23, 1753, began the bell’s more than eighty years of service, when it called the Assembly together in the State House.  Though it was chiefly used for this purpose in the beginning of history, the bell was rung on many occasions of note—proclamations of war, treaties of peace, greetings to distinguished visitors, and accessions of the English royal family.

It rang on days of rejoicing and for occasions of mourning.  Muffled, it sounded a funeral dirge when the English ship reached Philadelphia with stamps for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, in 1765, and again on the day when the stamp act went into operation, on October 31st of that year.

It celebrated the repeal of the stamp act, and sounded many other times in the stormy period before the Revolution in protest of British acts or approval of Colonial defiance.

When the Assembly, on May 17, 1755, declared “they would not make laws by direction,” the Liberty Bell rang out the message.  It rang again when, in February, 1757, Benjamin Franklin was sent to England to seek redress for the grievances of the province.

One of the most important steps in the preliminary events leading up to the Revolution was the consideration by the Assembly of a resolution for a congress of the colonies.  The Liberty Bell pealed on September 9, 1765, when this matter came before the legislators.

The acts of Parliament, closing the planning and splitting mills of Pennsylvania, stopping the manufacturing of iron and steel, affixing the King’s arrow on pine trees and putting an end to the trade of the colonists in all parts of the world, set the bell to ringing again on April 25, 1768.  The people assembled to protest against these acts.  the bells was the means used on July 30, 1768, to call a meeting in the State House yard, at which it was said that the “Parliament of Great Britain had reduced the people here to the level of slaves.”


On December 27, 1773, the Liberty Bell called together the largest assemblage that had ever gathered up to that tie in the State House yard.  There the citizens decided that the Polly, a ship coming up the Delaware with a cargo of tea and miscellaneous articles, should not be allowed to land.  “No power on earth had the right to tax them without their consent” was the sentiment of the meeting, and they would not have “the detestable tea funneled down their throats with Parliament’s duty mixed with it.”  A committee was named that, with the aid of the citizens, sent the cargo of tea, the captain and the consignee from the Arch-street wharf to its “Old Rotterdam place in Leadenhall street, London.”

Again, the hard-worked bell was “muffled and tolled,” on June 1, 1774, to announce the closing of the port of Boston.  A meeting assembled in the square by the ringing of the bell adopted resolutions protesting against this act on the part of parliament.  On June 18th it called a meeting to relieve the Boston sufferers, at which Philadelphians contributed L 2000, the Friends of Philadelphia Meeting subscribed L2540 in gold, and other counties smaller amounts.

Eight thousand citizens of Philadelphia were called by the Liberty Bell to the square on April 25, 1775, after the battle of Lexington.  There the men pledged themselves to the cause of liberty and justice.  From that day on the Continental Congress was summoned to its gatherings by the ringing of the Liberty Bell.

On July 2nd, 1776, it rang out its greatest note when the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed to the world by the Continental Congress, an occasion that justified the bell’s inscription as chosen by Isaac Norris and his committee when the relic was first recast.  Truly the Liberty Bell earned upon that day the title bestowed upon it, although only about 200 attended the historic meeting.  There John Nixon read the proclamation, as first introduced by Richard Henry Lee on June 7, 1776, in the resolution which has since become famous.


Again on July 4, 1777, the Liberty Bell celebrated the first anniversary of American independence, while the armies fighting for the free Nation was giving battle to the forces of the King.

On the 18th of September that year, however, the Liberty Bell was hurriedly removed from the steeple of the State House, and, with the chimes of Christ Church and St. Peter, was carried by the Colonial soldiers to Allentown, to prevent their capture by the British.  On its first trip, escorted by 200 North Carolina and British soldiers, the bell traveled from Philadelphia to Germantown to Bethlehem, to Allentown.  While at Allentown it was kept in Zion Church.

The Liberty Bell was away from Philadelphia until June 27, 1778, when it was brought back to remain until its first triumphal journey through the country in 1884.

The Bell rang rejoicing over the surrender of Cornwallis in 1781 and for the treaty of Peace with Great Britain.  Muffled for the first time since the days before the Revolution, in 1789 it sounded a funeral dirge for Washington.  In 1824 it welcomed Lafayette, and ten years later, the next to the last time it was to ring, it sounded a dirge for his death.

On July 4, 1826, it celebrated the beginning of the jubilee year of independence, and three weeks alter it was muffled for the death of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  February 22, 1832, it rang the centennial of Washington’s birth.  Once more it sounded when, in 1824, it rang farewell to Lafayette, and then, in July 1835, it sounded publicly for the last time, when it rang for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall—and cracked irretrievably.

Eleven years afterward an attempt was made to drill out the crack and repair the bell, but it was a failure.

The Liberty Bell is 12 feet in circumference around the lip and 7 feet 6 inches around the crown; it is 2 feet following the line of the bell from the lip to the crown, and 2 feet 2 inches over the crown.  It is 2 inches thick at the thickest part near the lip and 1 ¼ inches in the thinnest part toward the crown.  The length of the clapper is 2 feet 2 inches, and the whole contrivance weighs 2080 pounds.

The model was one cast by the order of Henry III in the early part of the thirteenth century, in memory of Edward the Confessor, which was hung in the clock tower of Westminster and was named St. Edward, but generally known as the “Great Tom of Westminster.”

San Antonio Express, November 19, 1915



DALLAS, Tex., Nov. 18.—The Liberty Bell tonight entered the last lap of its journey homeward, leaving here southward four hours and fifty minutes late.

Its stay in Dallas was prolonged fifty minutes over scheduled time on account of difficulty in making a transfer of the bell car from railroad to street car tracks.

During nearly four hours in Dallas the Bell was viewed by upward of 120,000 people, the relic being paraded through the business streets.

Under the present running time the bell was to arrive in Houston at 2:35 a. m. and in Beaumont, the last stop in Texas, at 6:20 a.m. Lake Charles was to be the first stop in Louisiana.


Liberty Bell Escort Lets a Negro Kiss It and Crowd Disapproves

FORT WORTH, Tex., Nov. 18.—A crowd estimated at more than 100, 000 persons gathered here from many Northwest Texas towns today to see the Liberty Bell on its return trip to Philadelphia from the Panama-Pacific Exposition.

School children on historical floats and in costume followed the relic through the streets.

At Arlington, the first stop made by the bell east of Fort Worth, a member of the bell escort lifted a negro child up to kiss the bell, arousing a demonstration of disapproval.


New Orleans Times Picayune, November 19, 1915


Today is a day of triple celebrations in New Orleans, being Liberty Bell day in honor of the visit of that famous relic of revolutionary times; Orange day in honor of one of Louisiana’s principle products; and Shell Fish day to commemorate the fact that Louisiana is rapidly forging to the front as a producer of shell fish of all kinds—oysters, shrimp, crabs, etc.

This latter is, of course, a minor matter intended merely to call attention to the importance of sea-food, to Louisiana’s position I the matter of production and the possibility of reducing the cost of living by its greater use.  On which point the federal government has issued a very interesting and instructive report, urging the greater use of sea-food by the public.

The orange celebration is for the same purpose, to attract attention to a product in which Louisiana stands near the front, but from which it has been somewhat crowded of late by failure to properly present its claims and the merits of its oranges.

Decidedly the most important of these triple events is the visit of the Liberty Bell which range out the call for the Continental Congress and the Declaration of Independence. In this respect, New Orleans has been particularly favored, for the bell has twice visited this city, being we believe, the only American city thus honored. It was here first during the Cotton Centennial of thirty years ago, this being its first trip away from Philadelphia.  It remained in New Orleans for a considerable time. Practically, a new generation will see it today. It was seen by hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in New Orleans and throughout those portions of the South it traveled; and the universal opinion was that the trip had done good, had stirred up old and patriotic memories, had strengthened the love and devotion of the Southern people for the Union and laid at rest all sectional feeling by recalling to the South those glorious days when all parts of the land were united, and when the country was strong because of that union.

The bell comes again at a most opportune time to arouse a spirit of patriotism, when Americans can appreciate the greatness of their country, what it means for them in peace and prosperity and for the world, t arouse national spirit and to show them what is needed to preserve the peace and ideals of the republic and enable it to maintain the high position it has won.  When nearly all the countries of Europe are engaged in a war which threatens their very existence, we have peace and prosperity; and it rests with us to preserve all the liberties, advantages, and progress which America enjoys today.  Events of the last few months, not only abroad but at home, have shown the necessity of keeping alight the fires of liberty and patriotism.  The American citizen, whether of native or foreign birth, who does not appreciate all that the country does and means for him and all it promises, is not deserving of that citizenship.  We want no lukewarm or divided allegiance, but thorough devotion and proved patriotism.

A very healthy sentiment on this subject prevails throughout the country and nowhere is it stronger than among the rising generation of school children.  The Liberty Bell, associated as it is with the very birth of this nation, which rang out liberty throughout the land and proclaimed it to the world, is today, although its voice is now silenced through age, the best spokesman for the spirit of patriotism.  Its appeals will be heard and echoed throughout the South as it was when it visited us thirty years ago; nor nowhere is the spirit of patriotism stronger than in New Orleans and throughout this section.  A hearty enthusiastic welcome then to the bell of July 4, 1776, which then, nearly a century and a half ago, proclaimed the birth of this great nation.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Metzgar says:

    When the liberty bell went to San Francisco, it came through our small town by rail, Brush Colorado. We have old news papers from 1915 that tells of it arriving in Brush and people came from miles around to see it. We are going to do a 100 year anniversary for our fourth of July parade and Rodeo this next year. Our town was voted the all American town of 2014. Wouldn’t it be great if the liberty bell could come on its 100 anniversary of when it was here before! Give me Liberty!!

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