Blanchard Bell Tower

Tower Bell

For all Wheaton couples who get that "ring by spring," ringing the Blanchard tower bell is a way to announce it to the world.


The 1,000 lb. bell was bought in 1872 to replace the cracked bell in the Blanchard Tower. The ringing of the Tower Bell was a more serious matter in its first decades, calling students to prayer, and announcing the beginning of the Spanish-American war in 1898 and the Armistice in 1918.

Eventually the mood of the bell lightened to one of announcing marriages, and most recently, engagements. For the last few decades, newly-engaged couples go "up the tower," to ring the bell announcing their engagement, leave their names on the tower wall and celebrate with friends. Couples often leave a page of photos for the Tower memory book, and have their names recorded in the "Up the Tower" list printed in the student newspaper, The Record. Alumni often return for wedding anniversaries to ring the bell again and find their names on the wall. Tradition has it that couples ring the bell in three sets of seven to announce engagements and seven sets of three for weddings.

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