Liberty Bell Pavilion
501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
The Liberty Bell Pavilion houses the most important relic of American patriotism. The Liberty Bell, as it is called today, is named for its role in proclaiming liberty throughout American history. The bell was ordered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Penn’s Charter, which established religious liberty in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania delegates had the verse Leviticus 25:10 placed on the bell. It declares, “proclaim LIBERTY throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (KJV).
Penn’s Charter guaranteeing religious liberty declares: “I the said William Penn do Declare Grant and Confirm unto all...these following Liberties Franchises and Privileges first Because no people can be truly happy though under the Greatest Enjoyments of Civil Liberties if Abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences as to their Religious Profession and Worship.”
The bell cracked the very first time it was rung upon arriving in America from the Whitechapel foundry in London. It was broken down, melted and recast twice more before it was finally hung in the Pennsylvania State House. The Liberty Bell began to live up to its name on July 8, 1776 when it called Philadelphia together to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
When the British invaded Philadelphia, all the bells in the city, including this one, were removed for fear that they would be melted and converted into British musket balls. The Liberty Bell was hidden in the basement of Old Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After the British withdrew from Philadelphia, it was returned. Several years later however, it cracked again. The Bell’s crack was drilled out and plugged so it could still be used. Nevertheless, the bell cracked again never more to ring aloud. If you look carefully, you’ll see that a hairline crack travels up from the drilled out crack through the word LIBERTY, perhaps providentially reminding us how fragile the gift of liberty truly is.