Since the Lakefront bell tower is one of those iconic structures of Columbia song and story, I wanted to go and have a look at this for myself. As luck would have it, I bumped into David Greisman, who was there taking photos. (This is his picture.)
Greisman, who is Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications at Columbia Association, is a hometown boy with memories aplenty of a Columbia childhood. He remembers sitting under the old bell tower reading comic books. (Was there once a comic book store at the Mall?) It looks as though the new bell tower, dubbed a "bell tree" will be gated off. Sorry, no more comic book lounging.
I don't think that's why it will be gated, though.
"You know, sometimes people used to climb it..." his voice trailed off, a bit of a twinkle in his eye.
As you may already know, the old bell tower came down because the structure had deteriorated to the point where it was dangerous. Wood rots, especially when exposed to dampness. But the bells were put in storage and CA has been contemplating just how and where to bring them back. With the fiftieth birthday celebration upon us, they decided upon this bell tree installation to bring back the sound of the bells to the Lakefront.
I gather that this particular installation is a temporary one, while they decide on a more permanent home. That will be an interesting discussion. I am sure that many folks will want them to be exactly the way they were. For now, I think that CA is hitting just the right note in creative reuse.
I haven't actually heard them ring yet. I'm looking forward to that.