Wonderful 100: First Belltower Dedication
One hundred years ago, a dedication ceremony was held to lay the cornerstone for NC State University's Memorial Belltower. The ceremony took place on 10 Nov. 1921, 3 years after the end of World War I. The building commemorates the alumni and students who lost their lives because of the conflict.
Alumnus and Lt. Governor (as well as future Governor) O. Max Gardner (Class of 1903) spoke at the event, and the ROTC regiment paraded in military review. The Alumni News, republishing an article that had appeared in the Raleigh News & Observer, reported the regiment contained 800 students, which was a significant portion of the student body at that time.
Construction of the Belltower had begun approximately 6 months earlier, and it would continue for several years to come. Originally, the structure was funded through alumni contributions, but later during the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration continued the construction (among other New Deal projects on campus). Later dedications occurred in 1947 after installation of the carillon and in 1949 after completion of the Shrine Room and bronze door. Recently, the Belltower was restored and 55 real bells installed, both made possible through a gift from the Bill (’81) and Frances Henry family, and it reopened in a May 2021 ceremony, echoing the one of 100 years ago.
To learn more about the Special Collection Research Center and our digitized resources, please visit the Rare and Unique Digital Collections site for access to images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics. You can also visit Historical State for historical timelines about various aspects of university history.
The Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for appointments or any questions. You can also submit a request to use materials, and we will email you with available appointment times.