Restoration Begins on Historic Akron Landmark

Apr 07, 2017

April 6, 2017 | | Carl Bachtel

AKRON, OHIO - It's a sound that echoed around Akron from the 1880's to the 1930's, coming from the bell tower at Glendale cemetery. Restoration of the historic structure is underway.

ARRC President Sean Joyce says it's been a long time coming."Glendale Cemetery is a historic treasure here in Akron. All the who's who of Akron's history are buried here."

The 64 foot tall sandstone tower holds a solemn purpose. To honor Akron's Civil War dead. Joyce continued,
"This bell tower was built for this chapel, so about ten years apart, so to bring that part back after restoring the chapel several years ago, it just brings the whole connection back together."

But first, the damaged roof must come off. "We're also going to repair and replace a lot of the timber, the framing of the roof itself and the roofing material. We're going back to a slate look."

After several hours of preparation, the moment of truth arrived. The crane lifted and the roof was lifted and made its way to the ground. It's shingles battered by decades of wind and weather.

Finally, 130 years after it first graced Akron's skyline, bell tower roof is off. Next the bell. The 700 pound brass bell sounded death knells for funerals at the cemetery and was a fixture of Decoration Day events until 1930 when vandals stole the clapper.

The bell has seen better days. "They'll be doing the restoration and installing an electric clapper so the bell will work."

The restoration should be complete by August, when the sound of the bell will resonate over Akron once again.

Cheri can't wait to hear it."Oh my gosh, I can't imagine. It will be just fabulous. It will be amazing."

Sean knows how important the project is, bringing back a piece of Akron's colorful history. "I think for the community, to hear the bell toll again is going to really special. It's been such a long time."

The project is expected to be finished in August of 2017.

Friends of Glendale Cemetery are still collecting donations for the tower registration and improvement of the landscaping around it.

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