Thursday, April 27, 2000

Bells will be ringing in Blue Ash


Suspense mounts for unveiling of honorary plaques

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BLUE ASH — A crane hoisted five brass bells and four large clocks into place Wednesday morning at a Millennium Tower to be dedicated Memorial Day weekend.

        “The bells and clocks are just part of the tower. The key thing is the American heritage theme of the new tower,” City Manager Marvin Thompson said.

        “We will unveil 24 memorial panels at 8 p.m. Friday, May 26, that show and honor great Americans of the past, and there will be space for another 24 honorees in the future,” Mr. Thompson said.

        The tower — another addition to the city's center east of Kenwood Road between Cooper and Hunt roads — will honor a cross section of Americans from the 1770s to the present.

        “We wanted to do something everyone — not just Blue Ash residents — will appreciate and do something for the millennium. But we also wanted something to complement the Veterans' Memorial next to the new tower,” Mr. Thompson said.

        “We feel an Americana and history theme coupled with public art really works well, is received well by the public and builds up the image of Blue Ash.”

        Only two honorees have been announced — George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

        “But, I can tell you there are 29 people represented there on the 24 smooth granite panels,” Mr. Thompson said.

        “We sought diversity as far as eras of time, types of contributions and ethnicity. We did not want 24 panels of past presidents and founding fathers.”

        The honorees were selected by a panel of educators, students, citizens and business leaders.

        There were no elected officials or city employees on the selection panel.

        Gary Carson, a nationally known Cincinnati artist who specializes in granite etchings, was retained to complete the panels.

        Mr. Carson also created the granite etchings of at the city's Veterans' Memorial, Mr. Thompson said.

        The tower cost $220,000 — with $70,000 of that to purchase the bells and clocks from The Verdin Co. in Pendleton and another $70,000 for the etchings.

        Verdin spokesman Phil Laughlin said four of the five bells were cast at the company's factory in Holland.

        The largest bell, surrounded by four smaller ones, was cast in 1844 by the VanDuzen Bell Co. of Cincinnati and was in Verdin's inventory.

        Mr. Laughlin said company officials do not know from where the bell was salvaged. The clocks were built by hand at Verdin's clockworks on Kellogg Avenue in the East End.

       



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