CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The story of Chesterfield County’s historic courthouse bell begins in 1749 when it was mounted over the county’s original courthouse.
A model of what it looked like can be found at Chesterfield’s Historical Society. The bell, three years older than the famed Liberty Bell, is a point of pride for Chesterfield.
“Think about it when George Washington was fighting for our independence, this bell, this very one, was hanging out over the courthouse not far from here,” Chesterfield librarian Ben Strohm said.
Strohm has been part of the efforts to restore and replace the historic bell.
“I love doing historic stuff, I love, you know I’m a librarian so getting people interested in history,” Strohm said.
The bell was eventually moved to a new courthouse in 1917, ringing in the cupola for 100 years. The county decided to restore the old bell, completing its restoration this past spring. A replacement bell will be hung inside the old courthouse as the county holds a centennial celebration this October and the old bell will be put into a display case inside the Chesterfield Historical Society’s headquarters.
At libraries across the county, a ‘pennies for the bell’ fundraiser is being held to help pay for everything. Strohm says it’s the same idea that paid for the pedestal the Statue of Liberty stands on today.
“And the way they raised money for that was by asking school children across the entire country to donate pennies to raise money to build the pedestal,” said Strohm. “This is a very unique piece of chesterfield history and we wanted to make sure that it’ll be around for another 200 odd years.”
The centennial celebration will take place October 26th at the old courthouse at 2 p.m. You can make donations at all nine branches of the Chesterfield County libraries.