Iowa bell tower to ring again after 30 years of silence
JEFFERSON (AP) — A well-known Iowa bell tower will soon be ringing for the first time in more than 30 years.
KCCI-TV reported that a $440,000 renovation project on the Mahanay Bell Tower in Jefferson is expected to finish next week, just in time for the city’s 37th annual Bell Tower Festival in June. The project refurbished existing bells and added 30 more.
The bell tower had been in disrepair since the 1980s and had been playing recordings instead of actually ringing.
“For years they’ve talked about getting all the bells up there and making it real,” said Jefferson resident Gordon Moen. “Now, with all the bells going up, there is going to be a keyboard they can play and have live concerts. I think it’s an exciting thing for the city.”
Nearly 50 bells make up a four-octave carillon that can be programed to play melodies or played by hand. All of the bells will hang outside on top of the bell tower. The Jefferson bell tower is one of two open-air carillons in the country.
The heaviest bell weighs more than 3,000 pounds. A study was conducted to ensure the structure could handle the additional weight, said Greene County engineer Wade Weiss.
“I’m looking forward to playing it,” said Jefferson resident Keri Brooker. “(But) I’m a little worried about it because if you make a mistake, the whole town is going to hear your mistake.”