Renovations completed, Hall bell to toll Saturday

Posted: February 16, 2012

THE CENTENNIAL Bell will toll again.

An 18-month rehabilitation of Independence Hall's iconic clock tower was mostly completed in December. On Saturday, the results will be heard.

Mayor Nutter and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah will join National Park Service Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod in unveiling the renovations at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

After years of rain rusted the iron rods that secure the tower, they were replaced with stainless-steel rods.

"Towers are a lot more sensitive to the environment than the rest of a building," said Jane Cowley, a Park Service spokeswoman.

Research and project proposals were developed in 2007, and construction began in July 2010. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the restoration was done for nearly $4.4 million by Daniel J. Keating Co., of Narberth.

Independence Hall remained open during the restoration. But the tower was off-limits to the public even before the project began, and it will remain closed to tours.

The tower, designed by architect William Strickland, dates to 1828. The original tower was removed in the late 18th century after it was found to be structurally unsound.

The Park Service's next project will be a renovation of the Benjamin Franklin Museum, at Franklin Court between Market and Chestnut and 3rd and 4th streets. It opened for the nation's bicentennial in 1976 but has been closed since October and won't reopen until 2013.

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