By Mike Schuh

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– A sound familiar to longtime Towson residents hasn’t been regularly heard in more than 20 years.

But now, as Mike Schuh reports, a last-of-its-kind local company is putting a shine on a one-of-a-kind treasure.

Up through this trap door– 80 feet up– you’ve arrived. Towson and the university are at your feet.

“Seems like something’s missing,” Harry Hughes, director of Facilities Systems Assessments at Towson University, said. “Yes, this big 1,200-pound bulge that used to be here.”

We’re in the bell tower at the university’s first building. But the bell is gone.

The bell is in Glen Burnie. It’s in Bill Parker’s hands.

“This bell was made in 1915. Our company has been in business since 1856. We’re actually the only large church bell manufacturer left in the United States today,” Parker said.

Ninety-seven years ago, his company made this bell.

“They got on the computer and looked us up on the Internet and said, ‘They’re still here,'” Parker said. “So the bell came back to us to be redone again. We have that a lot.”

Just a few weeks ago the bell looked rough, it was unusable. So when Towson University looked into a total rehab, imagine their surprise– McShane Bell Foundry was still in business.

“Well that was incredible. We never would have thought that,” Hughes said.

The bell used to be rung by a clock. Now they’re putting in an electric clapper and it can ring anytime they want.

The sound? A pure G note. The look? Well, you’d be able to see for yourself as new lights are being installed in the bell tower.

Schuh: “So you’re telling me that people coming down York Road with the lights on here are going to see that beautiful brass glow?”
Hughes: “Absolutely.”

Parker says we all may be long gone before this bell makes its last sound.

The bell was scheduled to be installed on Saturday but the possibility of thunderstorms has delayed its return for a few more weeks.

  1. Ed W says:

    Wow, that’s pretty amazing they are spending money on a bell and purely decorative electric lights and not on educating people or making the campus safer- what is wrong with this picture? I wonder how many kids will not get to go to college just so folks can hear an old bell w/ a fancy electric ringer and vanity lights that nobody has missed for twenty years. Most people know to look at their watch or cell when they want to know what time it is.

    Way to waste money, Towson!

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