Altgeld Bell Tower to be silent for next few years

By Jessie Wang, Staff Writer

On Sunday, students, staff and alumni alike gathered by the hundred to hear Altged’s bells ring for the last time for the forseeable future. Due to scheduled renovations and restorations, the bell’s will likely not be heard again for the next few years. (Jacob Slabosz)

Students gathered near the Alma Mater on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. statue for an impromptu concert hosted by the Altgeld Ringers before the temporary closure of the Altgeld chimes due to renovations on the building. 

According to Micheal Broussard, graduate student studying musicology and the current Altgeld chimesmaster, it is likely that the chimes will not return for a while.

“We’re expecting that they will not come back for a few years,” Broussard said. “We’re given different timelines because the renovations on this hall are going to be very detailed.”

The renovations on Altgeld Hall are part of a larger initiative that also includes the replacement of Illini Hall. In a statement released by the College of LAS, Altgeld was last significantly renovated in 1956 and the project will focus on both modernization and restoration of the building. 

Current plans include the restoration of mosaics, murals and woodwork in Altgeld Hall’s magnificent library,” the statement said.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Broussard said that the Altgeld chimes players hope to grow despite the closure of the bells. They are currently working on a recording project with the School of Music to create a CD and digital album.

The history of the Altgeld chimes trace all the way back to 1914, when the graduating class voted to raise money for chimes as a senior memorial gift. Since then, the chimes have been a recognizable symbol on campus.

According to Aniket Das, sophomore in LAS, the absence of the chimes will leave a vacuum. 

“It’s kind of weird that (the chimes are) not going to be here for the rest of the time that I’ll be here,” Das said. “It’s always been around when I’ve been walking … on the Quad.”

Bradley Chrisman, graduate student studying landscaping, said that he hopes the chimes return quickly because they provide solidarity across campus. 

“When the bell rings, everybody (who) hears it is a community,” Chrisman said. 

Broussard echoed Chrisman’s sentiment, as he feels that playing the chimes represented the voice of campus. 

“It is sort of a special thing to think about, you’re bringing to life the sound of the University,” Broussard said.


[email protected]