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924 Lake Street - Oak Park IL 60301 - 708-386-8036 - -

The smallest bell of the set weighs 375 pounds and the largest weighs 3,600 pounds, for a total weight of 13,350 pounds. They were orginally mounted on a wood and iron frame in the open upper story of the bell tower, above Grace’s main entrance. That whole assembly of frame, mounting hardware, and bells weighed 20,000 pounds.

Mr. Seabury was a founding member of Grace Church.

The smallest bell, at left above, and on the trailer below.

Cast in bronze bell metal: 78% copper, 22% tin​
Tunings, weights, and some notes.

D       3600 lbs.      56 in. diameter.                 

E        2500 lbs.
F#      2000 lbs.
      1500 lbs.
A        1075 lbs.
B          775 lbs.
C          675 lbs.
C#        575 lbs.
D          475 lbs.
E           375 lbs.      26 in. diameter

Grace’s ten bronze bells sent out their joyful sound every Sunday morning for almost a century--until it was discovered that their century-old wood and iron frame was deteriorating.

Since June 2022, they have been silent.

The program for the bells' dedication

December 8, 2023

It's harder to open up a 
century-old bell tower for the first time since its construction than was expected. The crane arrived this morning and by sunset, the bells were on the trucks and on their way to Smith's workshop.

November 29, 2023

As of 5:00 p.m., the technicians from Smith's Bell and Clock have removed all but one of the bells from the old wooden frame--the biggest one, the great D bell, is still mounted.

The great D bell resting on the pavement. The crane operator slowly lowered it from the window and set it down as gently and precisely as a curator placing a rare gem in a museum's glass case. (It was amazing.) 

Some facts and figures

The great D bell barely fit through the opening. It had to go out sideways, with plenty of wiggling and adjusting, before the crane could pull it free.

The smallest bell traveling to the trailer.

In June 2022, inspection revealed that after a century of use, in all kinds of weather, certain parts of the bells’ wood and iron supporting frame urgently needed to be repaired or replaced. 

Now, thanks to the generosity of some dedicated parishioners and the expertise of Smith's Bell and Clock Company of Camby, Indiana, Grace's bells will soon ring again.

In early December 2023, Smith's engineers opened the tower and removed the bells and their frame. The old wooden frame will be replaced by a steel frame, the bells will be examined and refreshed, and the whole assembly will be replaced in the tower--we hope by spring 2024--ready to ring for another century or two.

We are eager to hear our beloved bells ring out their joyful D major peal once again.

Whenever you hear Grace’s bells, you know there’s a real person pushing levers or pulling a rope in an unheated ringing room 26 feet below the bells. No electronics here.

The Bell Tower

Red arrow, top: The bell chamber or belfry. The lower concrete mullion and transoms of the window at left have been removed for access to the bells. Three bells have already been removed and are resting on the sidewalk below.

Purple arrow, second from top: Wooden louvers.

Blue arrow, third from top: Lancet windows in the unheated ringing room, 26 feet below the bell chamber.

Orange arrow, fourth from top: Spiral staircase to ringing room.

Yellow arrow, bottom: "Jacob's Ladder" window illuminating vestibule.

Grace’s Seabury Chime of ten bronze bells was dedicated in November 1922, soon after the tower was completed. 

They are played by one carillonneur from a console in a ringing room halfway up the tower, 26 feet below the bell chamber.

The console has ten wooden levers, each attached to the clapper of a bell by chains, rods, and bars. The player can control the bells' volume by pushing the lever with more or less vigor. The largest bell can also be swung by a rope extending down into the ringing room.

From Oak Leaves, November 1922

Grace's Tower Bells to Ring Again

JJ Smith, owner of Smith's Bell and Clock Company. Thank you, JJ!