Long-Delayed Dedication of NCSU Belltower, 1949

Governor R. Gregg Cherry speaks at the Belltower’s dedication. Image from NCSU Libraries.On November 11, 1949, the Memorial Belltower, a prominent landmark on the campus of North Carolina State University, was dedicated. Gov. Gregg Cherry was one of the many dignitaries in attendance.

Conceived as a memorial to those alumni who died in service to the country during World War I, the Belltower is a symbol of the university and a gathering point for the campus community. The cornerstone was laid in 1921, with sections added in 1924, 1925 and 1926.

Despite the Great Depression and World War II, construction continued through the 1930s and 1940s. The Depression-era federal Works Progress Administration program supplied the funds to complete construction of the stone tower in 1937, and the class of 1938 donated a clock and the class of 1939 added flood lighting.

Subsequent alterations include the addition of chimes, a shrine room and a memorial plaque. The plaque lists 35 alumni who died, but one name was listed in error. That name was changed and left on the plaque to represent the unknown soldiers from NSCU and elsewhere.

Students have been raising funds since 2008 to install real bells in the tower.

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