West Virginia State Capitol Complex Walking Tour


Liberty Bell Replica

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (State Historical Landmark)

Overview Listen

This replica of Philadelphia's famed Liberty Bell was cast in 1950 and designed to match the same weight, size, and tone of the original. The replica was one of fifty-five that were ordered by the federal government as part of a savings bond drive and distributed to state and territorial governments. Following a celebratory tour around the state, this replica bell has been located in Charleston's Capitol Complex directly at the front of the courtyard opposite the Kanawha Boulevard side of the Capitol. The bell can be visited alongside many other monuments at the Capitol Complex.

Photos

Photo Liberty Bell Replica at the West Virginia State Capitol
Photo Liberty Bell Replica Marker
Photo Liberty Bell Replica Marker

Backstory Listen

This replica of the Liberty Bell was cast to support a 1950 savings bond drive. The symbol is one of the leading icons in the United States of America and has become a symbol of the fight for independence and constitutional democracy. The one-ton, 12-foot perimeter bell is displayed prominently in a large courtyard and can be easily found a short walk from the surrounding grounds. The copper and tin bell is displayed on large steel supports with a descriptive plaque on closer inspection.

The plaque states several facts about the replica bell. It outlines that the bell was presented to the West Virginian public as part of the United States Savings Bond Independence Drive in 1950 after originally being presented to the United States government that same year. The slogan of the United States Savings Bond Independence Drive was "Save for your Independence." For this purpose, it was displayed in every part of the state. Fifty-three of these replica Liberty Bells were cast in France to the exact dimensions and tone of the Liberty Bell itself. The replica at the West Virginia State Capitol is replica number thirty-four out of fifty-three. To help inspire American pride, at the top of the plaque reads, "Dedicated to you, a free citizen in a free land." The replica is rung every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor the martyred civil rights leader. It has also been rung on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. 

The only difference between the original and the replica is the replica lacks the crack found in the original bell. The crack was mended but reopened when it was rung for hours to honor George Washington's birthday on  Feb. 27, 1846. The crack wasn't repaired again, and the bell hasn't rung since. The distinctive crack isn't found on the replica as it is based on the original design of the bell. 

The Revolutionary War is one of the most important aspects of American military history and American history in general. America's government was established with the principles this war was fought over, including individual religious and economic liberty. Although the story of the Liberty Bell being rung on July 4th, 1776 is unlikely to be true, it remains an effective symbol of that period of history and the events that shaped the United States. 


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Sources
United States. National Park Service. "The Liberty Bell." National Parks Service. Accessed June 22, 2016. https://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/stories-libertybell.htm.

Deacon, Sneakin. Liberty Bell Replica - Charleston, West Virginia. Waymarking. March 26, 2010. Accessed July 07, 2019. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8FG6_Liberty_Bell_Replica_Charleston_West_Virginia.

Merical, Joe. West Virginia State Capitol Bell Stands as Symbol of Liberty. Wrap-Up The Newsletter of the West Virginia Legislature. January 24, 2007. Accessed July 07, 2019. http://www.wvlegislature.gov/Wrapup/pdfs/Vol.XVIII_issue2.pdf.

Liberty Bell Replica Locations. Tom Loves the Liberty Bell. Accessed July 07, 2019. http://tomlovesthelibertybell.com/liberty-bell-replica-locations/.

Nix, Michael Sean. "Liberty Bell Replica Marker." The Historical Marker Database. October 3, 2009,  Accessed July 08, 2019. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=23018 


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