Bicentennial Bell: Special landmark could be heading to Jacksonville

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city’s bicentennial celebration is in June, but the Jacksonville Historical Society wants to remember this milestone forever with a special landmark.

It is proposing bringing a special bell to the city.

The team trying to bring it here has narrowed the list of possible locations down to five.

“I think it would really be a lovely tribute to the city,” said Aaron Gibson-Evans, who is the chairman of the Bicentennial Bell Project. “Especially when you consider that outside of St. Augustine and Pensacola, Jacksonville is the oldest modern city of the state.”

The bell is being made by a company in Ohio. The price tag is $150,000. Currently, the group is just shy of $10,000 in donations.

“The bell weighs 256 pounds and it is a bronze bell,” Gibson-Evans said. “Parts of it will be highly polished, while parts of it will be brushed. It is being cast specifically for Jacksonville. It is about 24 inches in diameter without the clasp that holds it to the support system.”

Where the bell will go specifically in downtown Jacksonville is still being discussed. There are a lot of players at the table, including the Downtown Investment Authority, Cultural Council, Art and Public Spaces, City council, and Parks and Public Works.

Gibson-Evans does not want this monument to be controversial.

“It is a symbol that most people can relate to,” he said. “Most people when they think of a celebratory or commemorative bell, they do think of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.”

The bell is expected to make its way downtown before the end of the year. Gibson-Evans said there is a chance it can get here as soon as September.

The bell would not be here in time for June’s bicentennial celebration.

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