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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Original Courthouse Bell, Graham

  • Type

    Bell

  • Subjects

    Historic Philanthropic Figures

    Historic Civic Figures

    Local History

  • Creator

    H.F. Mitchell Construction, Builder

  • City

    Graham

  • County

    Alamance

  • Description

    The 400-pound cast metal bell hangs from a yoke mounted atop a brick base. The base displays a plaque honoring Dr. Clinton S. Crissman, a local doctor who was honored by his family in the preservation and mounting of the historic bell and its installation for the Alamance County sesquicentennial celebration. The waist of the bell is engraved with the date and location of its casting, and the bell's clapper hangs below.

    Images: Plaque | Setting and view of courthouse and Confederate Monument

  • Inscription

    Plaque: THE ORGINAL COURT HOUSE BELL / PRESENTED TO THE CITIZENS OF ALAMANCE COUNTY / IN MEMORY OF / DR. CLINTON S. CRISSMAN / WHO SERVED AS A FAMILY PHYSICIAN / 1946-1992. / BELL ON PERMANENT LOAN BY THE CRISSMAN FAMILY OF GRAHAM.

    Bell: WEST TROY, N.Y. 1859

  • Custodian

    City of Graham

  • Dedication Date

    1850s and again at the County's 150th anniversary on April 24, 1999.

  • Decade

    1850s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.069590 , -79.399770 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "A Look Back at the Old Alamance County Courthouse," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), July 16, 2011, (accessed March 29, 2012) Link

      "About Our Practice," Crissman Family Practice, (accessed April 10, 2012) Link

      "Alamance County Courthouse," The Historical Marker Database, (accessed March 29, 2012) Link

      "Alamance County Sesquicentennial Celebration Schedule," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), April 25, 1999

      "Get Ready to Walk," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), May 1, 2007, (accessed April 15, 2012) Link

      "Original Courthouse Bell at Sesquicentennial Park #1," Flickr user claforet, (accessed March 26, 2012) Link

      "Sesquicentennial Park," Visit NC, (accessed March 29, 2012) Link

      "The Original Courthouse," Alamance County, (accessed April 10, 2012) Link

      Abernethy, Michael D. "Children's Museum Board Announces Start," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), October 29, 2009, (accessed April 5, 2012) Link

      North Carolina General Assembly, "Senate Resolution 763," (accessed April 10, 2012) Link

      ā€¯Golden Moment Finds Way to Square," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), April 25, 1999

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Brick platform, black brass plaque, cast metal bell

  • Sponsors

    Crissman family

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The courthouse bell was originally dedicated sometime around 1859. It was rededicated along with the new park across from the historic courthouse on April 24, 1999 on the occasion of the County's sesquicentennial.

  • Subject Notes

    The bell originally was located on top of the roof of the old courthouse building completed in 1852. The old building was demolished and the bell removed in preparation for building a new courthouse in 1923. The new courthouse was completed on November 23, 1924, apparently without the old bell.

    The bell is owned by the Crissman family who provided it on loan for preservation in the city park in honor of Dr. Clinton Crissman. Dr. Crissman opened a family medical practice in 1946 after serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He also served on the board of education of Alamance County from 1965 to 1971.

  • Location

    The monument is located in the Sesquicentennial Garden across from the Court House Square and in view of the Confederate Monument.

  • Landscape

    The bell stands on a brick base covered by the steel and brick pavilion. Small bushes and plantings surround the pavilion.

  • Former Locations

    The bell first stood in the Court Square of the original brick 1850 courthouse. Now the bell is located in the Sesquicentennial Park across from the new Courthouse.

  • Post Dedication Use

    The bell was originally located on the old courthouse, but after the courthouse was demolished it was moved and lost for several years. It was not until 1999 that the bell was relocated to Sesquicentennial Park on Alamance County's 150th birthday. The bell now stands in the court square at the Sesquicentennial Park. Community events are held in the vicinity of the park.

  • Approval Process

    Alamance County was officially established on April 24, 1849, with the first court meeting on June 4, 1849. A contract was signed on July 17, 1849 to construct the courthouse and it opened in 1852. The bell became the focal point of the structure; however, once the original courthouse was demolished to make way for a newer and larger structure, the bell went missing until it was recovered in the 1990s.

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