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Liberty Bell (Portland, Oregon)

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Liberty Bell
Bell outside City Hall, Portland, OR 2012.JPG
Portland's second Liberty Bell replica, located outside of City Hall's east portico, in 2012
Liberty Bell is located in Portland, Oregon
Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell
Location in Portland, Oregon
  • First replica: June 1963
  • Second replica: c. 1972
  • Sculpture: Best Genuine Bell Metal, 16% min-copper alloy
  • Base: brick, metal (steel), wood (mahogany)
SubjectLiberty Bell
Dimensions1.7 m × 1.6 m × 1.7 m (66 in × 64 in × 66 in)
Weight1 tonne (1,000 kg)
Condition"Treatment needed" (1993)
LocationPortland, Oregon, United States
Coordinates45°30′54″N 122°40′43″W / 45.51508°N 122.67869°W / 45.51508; -122.67869Coordinates: 45°30′54″N 122°40′43″W / 45.51508°N 122.67869°W / 45.51508; -122.67869

Liberty Bell refers to one of two replicas in Portland, Oregon, United States, of the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The first replica was purchased in 1962, and installed in the rotunda of City Hall in 1964. On November 21, 1970, it was destroyed in a bomb blast that also damaged the building's east portico. The second replica was installed outside of City Hall soon after the blast (c. 1972) with funds from private donations. It was dedicated on November 6, 1975. The bell is listed as a state veterans memorial by the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs.


Portland has had two replicas of Philadelphia's original Liberty Bell.[1] The first replica was purchased in 1962 for $8,000.[2] It was constructed at the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore and received a 25-year guarantee against breakage.[2][3] The bell arrived in Portland in June 1963, with a damaged base and beam since the sculpture had slipped off its supports. Repairs were made before the replica was paraded through the city on a flatbed truck, then put into storage until Independence Day,[4] when the bell was presented to the city.[5] It was publicly rung for the first time during holiday celebrations and installed in City Hall's rotunda on May 5, 1964.[2][3][6]

On November 21, 1970, a dynamite bomb that had been placed beneath the bell detonated, damaging City Hall's east portico columns, shattering windows, and destroying the replica.[6][7] No one was injured, but "shards of bell went everywhere through the main portico".[1] The crime remains unsolved; no one claimed responsibility or was prosecuted for the blast.[7][8] In 1993, The Oregonian said: "Wild, highly vocal speculation blamed the blast on either left-wing or right-wing terrorists, depending, of course, on the accusers' own political persuasions. Others guessed it was a monumental prank that careened out of control."[7]

Portland's second replica is located outside of City Hall's east portico, near the intersection of Southwest Fourth and Madison streets and across from Terry Schrunk Plaza.[1][3] Private donations totaling $8,000 allowed a new bell to be purchased for $6,000 and installed not long after the blast (c. 1972).[3][9] The bell has also been attributed as a gift from Philadelphia residents to Portland school children.[10] It was dedicated on November 6, 1975. The replica was surveyed and considered "treatment needed" by the Smithsonian Institution's "Save Outdoor Sculpture!" program in October 1993.[3] The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs lists the bell as one of the state's veterans memorials.[11]

Description and reception[edit]

The bell outside Portland City Hall's east portico, 2012

The 1 ton (910 kg) sculpture is made of Best Genuine Bell Metal, a sixteen percent min-copper alloy, and measures approximately 66 by 64 by 66 inches (1.7 m × 1.6 m × 1.7 m).[4][3] It is attached to a horizontal beam that is supported by two V-shaped beams. The base is made of brick, metal (steel) and wood (mahogany covering) that measures approximately 13 by 76 by 54.5 inches (0.33 m × 1.93 m × 1.38 m).[4][3] The west side displays the inscription Pass and Stow / Philada / MDCCLIII. Raised lettering along the top of the bell reads PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF LEV. XX VVX. / BY ORDER OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA FOR THE STATE HOUSE IN PHILADA. The founder's mark also appears. Smithsonian categorizes the sculpture as allegorical for symbolizing liberty.[3]

The bell has been included in published walking tours of Portland.[10][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Streckert, Joe (December 1, 2011). "Kablooie! A Guide to Oregon's Greatest Explosions". The Portland Mercury. Index Publishing. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Bell cost $8,000". Eugene Register-Guard. November 24, 1970. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Liberty Bell, (sculpture)". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Liberty Bell Replica Arrives in Portland". Eugene Register-Guard. June 28, 1963. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  5. ^ "Self Guided Walking Tour Portland City Hall". City of Portland, Oregon. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Oregon City Hall Ripped by Blast". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. November 22, 1970. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Mapes, Jeff (June 25, 2012). "The Photo Vault: Portland City Council recovers from bombing of City Hall". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Jacklet, Ben (September 12, 2002). "The Secret Watchers". Portland Tribune. Pamplin Media Group. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  9. ^ Cordell, Kasey (May 19, 2009). "PDXOXO: Happy 150th, Oregon! Here's a little Valentimeline from the heart of the state". Portland Monthly. Sagacity Media. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Cook, Sybilla Avery (April 2, 2013). Walking Portland, Oregon. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 25. Retrieved March 22, 2015. Note: "Walk 2: Civic Center / Urban Renewal".
  11. ^ "Veterans Memorials in Oregon". Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs. Archived from the original on June 7, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  12. ^ Cook, Sybilla Avery (1998). Walking Portland. Globe Pequot. pp. 49, 106. Retrieved March 22, 2015.

External links[edit]

External image
1970 Liberty Bell bombing – City Hall exterior, City of Portland, Oregon