Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't Go There: The top of the PCSU bell tower

This is a guest post by Lee Clarion staffer Matt Smith.

This is the 15th part in the "Don't Go There" series. The series strives to unveil the most secret and secluded parts of campus to give ordinary students a glance at the unknown.

Previously, a post was made about the dummy room below the PCSU's Bell Tower containing the unwashed windows. However, that post did not actually go all the way to the crest of the bell tower. Today, we'll see photos from the bell tower itself.

After heading up to the fourth floor of the PCSU's eastern stairway to the solitary locked door labeled "Mechanical," there are two doors: one straight ahead and another on the right. Going through the right-side door leads to a long unfinished hallway.

Ahead is one locked door, leading to the dummy room with the orange-glowing windows.

To the right of this door is a dark corner with simple metal rungs hung in the wall. Unfortunately there are no lights in this corner so it is very difficult to see. Climbing the ladder leads to a wooden platform and a hanging metal ladder. Above this ladder is a locked hatch that leads directly into the bell tower.

Some incredible views of campus are afforded from this vantage point. There are four smaller bells hanging from the ceiling of the tower; these make the musical chimes that sound every quarter-hour. They are stationary and have a small hammer mounted inside to strike them in sequence.
The large bell hangs in the middle of the circular room on a glorified bicycle-chain style pulley system. This system swings the bell to strike it against the hammer. Unfortunately, it takes three or four tries for the necessary momentum to be built up, necessitating a reset of the clock every couple of months.
The bell itself weighs about two thousand pounds and is nearly eight inches thick. It was cast in England in 1923 and according to Dr. Paul Conn, it came from a church in London. There is a worn spot on the outside lower edge where the bell has met the hammer 156 times a day for nearly a decade.

Additionally, given the height of this tower, views of nearly the entire campus are possible. Following is a series of photos showcasing these views.

Of course, I couldn't resist a personal shot while I was up here.

And finally, one of the more humorous videos you'll see out of me: while attempting to commentate on the scene up here, I get a loud surprise...

This has been Matt Smith, guest posting in the "Don't Go There" series. Keep reading!

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