I hope this puts a smile on your face. We'll put it in tomorrow's paper, and I'm waiting for some recent pictures of the bell, and the new tower, from the University.
The University of Georgia's beloved Chapel Bell, which is at an Ohio foundry for repairs, will be shipped home soon and will be in place for the start of football season, according to a university spokesman and the foundry vice president.
The bell itself, which fans ring after Georgia victories, is ready for shipment now, The Verdin Co. Vice President Dave Verdin said. But the timbers that will support it in a newly built tower won't be ready until next week, he said. Verdin's company, in Cincinnati, is one of the few that can do this work, UGA Physical Plant Assistant Vice President Tom Satterly said.
The tower is being built by university workers and will look like the old one, Satterly said. It will be installed behind the university chapel on North Campus early next month. The bell, removed this spring for the repairs and refurbishing, will be in place before the Aug. 30 home game against Georgia Southern, Satterly said. Everything but the bell itself will be new.
Soon. Image by Lucid Athens correspondent Brian Huff.
"It's gonna look terrific. ..." Satterly said. "A lot of pride's going into constructing this tower."
The bell, cast in 1835, will look and sound pretty much the same, Verdin said. But it's been sand blasted and polished, and the broken crown at the top was strengthened, he said. The clapper, which actually rings the bell, was also replaced and the new one is bronze instead of the original steel, Verdin said.
"So it might be a little more melodious," he said.
It's unusual to hand ring a bell these days, Verdin said, and almost unheard of to allow "just anybody" to ring it by pulling a rope "to their heart's content."
The bell "gets 10 years use every time you guys win a ball game," he said.
After last year's win over Florida the bell was rung so hard that it fell from its perch, but was caught by a wooden platform installed just below it for safety. It's a good thing, since the bell weighs 700 pounds.
"Ironically, the same weight as Urban Meyer's ego," Middle Georgia Bulldog Club President Stebin Horne noted.
Temporary fixes were made, and the bell was reinstalled for the rest of the 2007 season. But the old tower dated back to about 1913, and it was taken down after the season. The new tower, as well as the infrastructure that holds the bell in place, will be engineered to modern standards, Satterly said.
Image: UGA photographer Dot Paul, 4.5.2005.