OREGON LIBERTY BELL

Our history guides our future

Our shared heritage defines us as a state and as Oregonians

In both good and challenging times

The Capitol Foundation shares in your proud and deep connection to the classic architecture, beautiful grounds and historical treasures beneath the golden Oregon Pioneer statue. We believe in offering varied and abundant learning experiences about our Capitol and the processes and people within it. An essential part of our mission is preserving artifacts and the stories of landmark legislation and those who made it happen. It’s exciting to celebrate the shared history, heritage and culture of our state.

LIBERTY IS IN OUR HANDS

Abolitionists named the “Liberty Bell” – an iconic symbol of our nation’s unity, independence, freedom and justice.

The Liberty Bell – originally known as the State House Bell – has a long history as a significant American symbol. It is associated with the Declaration of Independence, national unity after the Civil War, women’s voting rights, the Civil Rights Movement and many other important causes. The bell has meant many things to many people, and continues to do so.

Its powerful inscription still resonates today. “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”

The Liberty Bell moved Americans to buy U.S. savings bonds. The U.S. Department of Treasury had Liberty Bell replicas identical in composition and tone to the historic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shipped as gifts to each state and U.S. territory as part of a U.S. savings bond campaign. Oregon’s Liberty Bell went on permanent display on the Capitol grounds in 1950. Oregonians love their bell. 

Ringing in change.

Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance and Safety construction at  Capitol required moving Oregon’s Liberty Bell. The bell’s relocation revealed that wood deterioration and metal fatigue made it unsafe to reinstall on the grounds until repaired.

A project fit for the Capitol Foundation’s mission, our nonprofit funded the $30,000 restoration of Oregon’s bell with help from sponsors. Preserving state treasures at our Capitol shows that Oregonians value their gifts and artifacts, provides educational opportunities and adds enjoyment for all who visit the building and its grounds.

In January 2020, Christoph Paccard Bell Foundry received Oregon’s Liberty Bell. The foundry is the official U.S. sales representative for the Paccard Fonderie des Cloches in France, makers of the replica bells. Restoration included:

  • A new wooden yoke coated with marine polyurethane finish.
  • Addition of a custom-fitted drip edge to eliminate water intrusion of the yoke.
  • Glass bead sandblasting of all metal components.
  • Hot dip galvanization with quenching process.
  • New bearings.
  • Powder coating of metal components.

Upon learning that the original plaque was damaged beyond repair, the Capitol Foundation agreed to pay to have a replica plaque recast. Contractors affixed the new plaque to the cement base after installing historic bell at its new home on the east side of the Capitol grounds.

The Legislative Administration, Capitol Accessibility Maintenance and Safety (CAMS) project staff and contractors, State Capitol State Park personnel and multiple engineering firms collaborated on the Capitol Foundation’s Oregon Liberty Bell restoration project.

 

Let’s hear it for you!

The Capitol Foundation will announce a rededication event when the 1938 Capitol reopens at the end of the building’s construction, slated for 2025. Sponsors can provide the Capitol Foundation a list of names, addresses and emails of people to notify about the historic event. We’ll include your logo or name on promotional materials and on signs at the rededication.

Sponsorship gives you access to high-resolution photos of the bell’s sendoff, restoration work at the foundry, return to Oregon and the rededication event for your use in promotional materials.

Special thanks to our early project sponsors for helping make this possible:

We invite you to partner with us. Your tax-deductible investment in the work of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation will help safeguard our Liberty Bell and the history it represents for future generations. You’ll help showcase the bell for the more than 200,000 people who visit the Capitol each year. Together, we’re inspiring independence, freedom and justice through civic engagement.

EXPLORE THE CAPITOL GROUNDS

Find historic artifacts and monuments on your next trip to the Oregon State Capitol

The Oregon State Capitol and its rich heritage belong to the people of Oregon. The Capitol experience includes exploring the grounds to see the many artifacts and monuments, such as the historical Capitol columns from a previous Capitol that burned, the statue of the man known as the “Father of Oregon,” and a memorial for Oregon spy and humanitarian Claire Phillips. Together, we are preserving our state’s history and sharing it with all who visit our Capitol. Thank you for making this possible.

Corinthian columns from Oregon's Capitol that burned in 1935.

CORINTHIAN COLUMNS FROM OREGON’S SECOND CAPITOL

The statue of Dr. John McLoughlin gets a new cane.

DR. JOHN MCLOUGHLIN’S NEW CANE

A Capitol visitor reads the Claire Phillips Memorial

CLAIRE PHILLIPS MEMORIAL