Denny Chimes

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Denny Chimes
Denny Chimes by Highsmith.jpg
Denny Chimes on The Quad, following cleaning and restoration
General information
Type Campanile
Architectural style Art Deco
Location Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Coordinates 33°12′35″N 87°32′48″W / 33.20972°N 87.54667°W / 33.20972; -87.54667Coordinates: 33°12′35″N 87°32′48″W / 33.20972°N 87.54667°W / 33.20972; -87.54667
Completed 1929
Owner University of Alabama
Height 115 feet (35 m)[1]

Denny Chimes is a 115-foot (35 m) tall campanile tower on the south side of The Quad at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The tower was named in honor of George H. Denny, who served as university president from 1912 to 1936 and then again in 1941.[2] It is equipped with a 25-bell carillon. The tower is one of the most visible landmarks on campus.[2][3]

History[edit]

The idea of erecting a bell tower on the University of Alabama campus was initially suggested in 1919. It was envisioned as a war memorial for those who fought in World War I.[3] Due to a lack of funding for its construction, the project never materialized.

In the late 1920s, university students were finally successful in collecting the necessary funding to construct a tower, although not as a war memorial. It was done in an effort to dedicate the structure to university president George Denny, after learning of a rumor that he was looking to leave the university and return to his native Virginia.[2]

The tower was built by Skinner, Maxwell and Company at a final cost of $40,000.[3] It was dedicated on May 27, 1929, with Governor Bibb Graves in attendance.[4]

Design[edit]

The tower is Art Deco in design. The square white limestone base features pilasters at each corner, with a recessed bay in between. The base is crowned by a molded cornice, which in turn is topped by an eagle, with partially outstretched wings, perched at each of the four corners, where the limestone base transitions to the brick shaft. The base supports a red brick shaft that gradually tapers to a limestone crown featuring a belfry with square pillars separated by partially open neoclassical grills, all topped off by a stepped pyramidal roof of limestone. The limestone was quarried in Alabama, while the bricks are from Virginia, in honor of Denny's home state.[5]

Carillon[edit]

The carillon features 25 cast bronze bells, with the largest having a circumference of about 11 feet (3 m) and a height of 3 feet (1 m).[3] The chimes ring every 15 minutes, chiming on the hour in addition to chiming other songs or the alma mater as part of university celebrations or holidays.[3] Inside the base is an automatic player that plays roll music in addition to a keyboard console that is used on special occasions.[3] By 1945, the bell carillon was converted into an electronic system and modernized in 1966. For many years the Alabama organ professor Warren Hutton served as the carillonneur for memorial services and special events, and today the manual organ is played by both university faculty and students.[6]

Walk of Fame[edit]

Surrounding the tower is the Walk of Fame, where captains of the football team have placed their hand and footprints in cement slabs at its base since 1948.[7] The ceremony occurs annually as part of the A-Day festivities, when previous season captains are honored.[8]

The names inscribed on the Walk of Fame include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Denny Chimes". Emporis.com. Retrieved May 27, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "University Campus Tour: Denny Chimes". University of Alabama. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Vickery, Scottie (September 2, 1998). "For old chimes' sake: Electronic technician keeps bells ringing in UA landmark". The Birmingham News. pp. G1. 
  4. ^ "ADAH: Tuscaloosa Historical Markers". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Archived from the original on April 8, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Denny Chimes". University of Alabama. State of Alabama. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ Coulter, Lucinda (October 27, 2006). "Behind the chimes". The Tuscaloosa News. 
  7. ^ McNair, Kirk. "Six players elected permanent captains". Scout.com. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  8. ^ Morton, Jason (April 10, 2008). "A-Day anticipation". The Tuscaloosa News.