American Legion Freedom Bell
|Year||Cast in 1975, dedicated in 1981|
|Owner||National Park Service|
Freedom Bell, American Legion, is a public artwork located at Union Station in Washington, D.C., United States. Freedom Bell, American Legion was surveyed as part of the Smithsonian's American Art Museum's Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database in 1985.
The sculpture is a 2.1 scale replica of the Liberty Bell. The bell, which was founded by Petit und Fritsen, weighs 8 tons and has a support structure of post and beam style with two concrete shafts. A plaque rests on the ground in front of the bell that reads:
- The Freedom Bell
- Dedicated to
- The Spirit of the Bicentennial
- on Behalf of
- The Children of Our Nation
- Given By
- The American Legion
- American Legion Auxiliary
The bell, a Bicentennial gift from the American Legion, is a model of the bell on display at the American Legion Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Authorized by Congress on October 12, 1976, it was cast outside of the US because no foundry had the capacity to cast the bell.
When the bell was completed it was shipped to Baltimore and then traveled to all 48 contiguous states aboard the American Freedom Train for the Bicentennial, starting on April 1, 1975 in Wilmington, DE and ending Dec 31, 1976 in Miami, FL. The bell shared train car No. 41 (later renumbered 40) with a map of the American Freedom Train's journey and a lunar rover. From 1977–1978 the bell was placed in National Park Service storage until lengthy discussions led to an agreement and the bell was placed at Union Station in 1981. The American Legion, who hoped for placement at the National Mall, were unhappy with the bell's placement.
The details of the casting were handled by I. T. Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Jack Patrick served as associate architect for the sculpture and Allen J. Wright Associates created the post and beam support for the bell. The iron work was completed by Fred S. Gichner Iron Works.
- American Art Museum (1985). "Freedom Bell, American Legion (sculpture)". Inventory of American Sculpture. Smithsonian. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- Jeff (2010). "Freedom Bell". Union Station. StationStart.com. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- "1970s". History. American Legion. 2008. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- Todd Schannuth (2011). "American Freedom Train Showcase Car #41". American Freedom Train. Accuen Media. Retrieved January 8, 2010.