Resounding Restoration

Writer: 
October 1, 2003

 

Re-belling: original installation
crane assistance

 Re-belling: original installation, top; crane assistance, above. Photo Top: Duke University Archives. Photo Above:Les Todd

 

An East Campus fixture since 1911 was restored and reinstalled in July. The 6,500-pound Trinity College bell, also known in less enlightened times as "Marse Jack," was cracked and heavily corroded. Both problems were repaired by Karkadoulias Bronze Art of Cincinnati.

Named for President John "Jack" Kilgo, the bell was donated by Benjamin Newton Duke to replace a bell destroyed in a fire that also razed the Washington Duke Building in 1911. Trinity students wrote a poem about the bell, which regulated their lives:

Who wakes me in the early morn
When heavy eyes and spirit worn
Cry out in pain, Alas, Alack.
The college bell, Marse Jack,
Marse Jack.

The bell first hung in a wooden tower next to the Crowell Building. Its current home, a steel bell tower next to the Keith and Brenda Brodie Gymnasium, was a gift from the Woman's College Class of 1933.