Philadelphia has been homes to many famous bells over the years, from Raja Bell‘s hard-nosed D to David Bell hitting for the cycle, or perhaps Eagles’ founder Bert Bell or singer Patti LaBelle are more your thing. Or, perhaps, you are thinking of the most iconic bell of all, the omnipresent Liberty Bell. But did you know about the even larger Bicentennial Bell that was gifted by the Brits back in 1976? It long stood in the Old City neighborhood in an odd tower before going into storage about a decade ago as the building was demolished to make way for the Museum of the American Revolution.

"That's a large bell up there"
The Bicentennial Bell's former home at 3rd & Chestnut

But after many years hidden away from public view, Independence Historical Trust – the philanthropic partner of Independence National Historical Park – hatched a plan to revamp Benjamin Rush Garden at 3rd & Walnut, with an eye to bring back the bell and add new paths and plantings to the area.

The view from 3rd St.
Another rendering shows the scale of the bell

Excitingly, this project designed by Studio Bryan Hanes and Holzman Iron Studio broke ground last fall, with the bell now standing grand in the middle of the park. Brick pathways will surround the bell, with plantings going in throughout the site. Things were busy when we went by, with crews getting things ready for the final reveal, which will hopefully be happening this summer if things continue to progress.

Looking towards the NE corner of 3rd & Walnut
The bell, back up for the first time in years
Peeking into the site, with plenty of materials ready to be positioned
Another view, with a ramp towards the back leading out of the walled area

We love seeing this progress as Philly slowly prepares for the impending semiquincentennial celebration coming in a couple years. With the rehab and addition to the First Bank of the United States just next door and a couple of hotels joining the mix up the street (including the grand reopening of the Society Hill Hotel on May 31st!), this area is definitely doing its part to get Philly ready for the nation’s big birthday party.