D.C. City Council: ‘Help us find our Liberty Bell’

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of Independence Day, the District’s City Council is asking the public to help them find an actual-size replica of the Liberty Bell which was gifted to the city in 1950 and went missing around 1980.

The bell was a gift for exceeding savings bond sales goals. Each state and territory got one, as well as the Treasury Department.

In 1979, Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation was working on a project to beautify the Avenue, and had to relocate a few small monuments. All of the monuments were returned, except the bell.

The council says they have had “extensive communications” with the PADC and District government staff who would have been involved in the Bell’s relocation, but this didn’t lead anywhere.

“Press accounts indicate that the Bell was still in place on April 2, 1979 but had already been declared missing on July 30, 1981,” said the council’s statement. “We have a pretty tight window of time when the Bell disappeared, but we do not know how, or where it went. [Note: The Liberty Bell we are seeking is not the double-sized replica in front of Union Station, not the actual-size replica located between the Treasury Building and the White House, and not the colorful Thai Grievance Bell located in the Wilson Building’s atrium.]”

They say that as well as tips regarding the Bell’s removal from Pennsylvania Avenue, and/or its present location,  they are also interested in any of the following:

  • “Any contacts from, or information about, a minority contractor called G & C Construction, of Merrifield, VA. They had the PADC subcontract for the reconstruction of the sidewalks outside the Wilson Building, and may have useful information about its relocation.
  • Photos of the Bell in front of the Wilson Building, prior to its disappearance. There are less than a half-dozen known photos of the Bell, so any additional photos would fill out the historical record.
  • Memories of the Bell We have been told it was a common landmark/location for people to meet up downtown (much like the Smithson statue in front of the Smithsonian Castle is today). Do you remember the Bell?”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Josh Gibson at 202-741-0897 or jgibson@dccouncil.us.

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