Updated: Nov 22, 2020
Did you know that you can ring the world's largest free-swinging bell in Newport, KY?
You can find the World Peace Bell in downtown Newport across from the county courthouse. Weighing in at a total of 66,000 pounds, the bell has been recognized as the world's largest free-swinging bells. The bronze bell is engraved with symbols of human achievements and inscribed with a quote: "The World Peace Bell is a Symbol of Freedom and Peace. Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Present and Inspiring Our Future". The tone of the sound is pitched at A with an overtone of C#. While this may be an unusual interval for a "peace bell," it's resonating at it's natural tone and has not been artificially tuned.
The bell was cast on December 11, 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at a ship propeller foundry in Nantes, France. It was completed in March of 1999, and first rung during a public ceremony in Nantes. After that, the bell spent a month and a half being shipped by sea from France to New Orleans, where it was then transported via barge up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to it's final destination in Northern Kentucky. The bell was rung in the US for the first time on January 1st, 2000 and could be heard up to 25 miles away!
The World Peace Bell is connected to the World Peace Bell Association (WPBA). The group's mission is to construct bells in every single country around the world! The project was inspired by a bell constructed by donations of many different countries' coin currency smelted down presented to the United Nations as a symbol of everlasting peace in 1954.
From a speech given by Honor Ken Lucas in the House of Representatives on August 5, 1999:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the city of Newport, Kentucky, where the World Peace Bell arrived at its permanent home this weekend. At 12 feet in diameter and 12 feet in height, the bell weighs 66,000 pounds. It is the world's largest swinging bell. I also rise to recognize Wayne Carlisle for his vision, commitment, and enthusiasm, without which the World Peace Bell would not have been possible.
The World Peace Bell is a powerful symbol of freedom and peace. It was cast in Nantes, France, on December 11, 1998, the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Bell has an inscription commemorating that document, as well as engravings marking the most important events of the past 1,000 years.
The World Peace Bell was first rung in Nantes on March 20, 1999, in a public ceremony, and it began a month-and-a-half-long sea voyage from France to New Orleans, where the Bell was made part of that city's July Fourth celebration. The Bell was transported by barge up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, making stops in 14 cities along the way. The Bell arrived at its final destination on August 1st.
The World Peace Bell will officially open on September 21, 1999, the International Day of Peace, when it will toll to observe the opening session of this year's United Nations General Assembly. On New Year's Eve 1999, the Bell will be rung once every hour and broadcast so that people in every time zone around the globe will hear the new millennium rung in by our World Peace Bell. This celebration will include leaders of church and state from around the world, as well as participants performing native rituals and wearing traditional costumes.
Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the city of Newport and neighboring river cities on their successful revitalization efforts. The World Peace Bell is only one of a number of projects coming to fruition in the region. The success of these efforts is a testament to the spirit and hard work of the people of Northern Kentucky.
You can visit the bell for yourself at the World Peace Bell and Exhibit Center located at 425 York St. in Newport, Kentucky. They're open Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm and offer tours for as little as $1 per quest! The bell is rung daily at 11:55pm, as well as for special occasions.
World Peace Bell and Exhibit Center -kentuckytourism.com
World Peace Bell Newport Kentucky - tripadvisor.com
World Peace Bell history - worldpeacebell.nz
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