Historic bell now on courthouse lawn

‘Minor miracle’ bell was saved after 1924

Photo by Tom MacCallum

Photo by Tom MacCallum

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Neal Cadieu, of the Richmond County Historical Society, called the saving of a historic 1891 bell a “minor miracle” after the courthouse on East Franklin Street was built in 1924.

It could have gone the way of the courthouses previously constructed on Harrington Square — to rubble, and to history.

Instead, the bell was rescued, restored and installed early this morning by a Southern Builders work crew onto a brick foundation on the courthouse lawn, looking directly at the new Richmond County Judicial Center across Lee Street.

A granite monument currently is being prepared to be placed a few feet in front of the bell, which is secured with a chain and lock. The key, said Dr. John Stevenson, society president, will be given to the county sheriff.

Photo by Tom MacCallum

Photo by Tom MacCallum

The original intent was for the monument to be placed adjacent to the sidewalk, but it will now be placed roughly midway between the bell and the sidewalk to to help keep it out of the right of way and to safeguard it from accidental damage.

It is estimated that the bell weighs between 300 and 400 pounds. Cadieu, Stevenson and Tom MacCallum all were on hand to supervise the work.

A dedication ceremony will be coordinated and announced by the historical society in the near future. Stay tuned to The Pee Dee Post for details.

 

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