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Nancy Brown Carillon Tower - Detroit, Michigan
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 42° 20.112 W 082° 59.311
17T E 336179 N 4688909
Quick Description: The cornerstone for this magnificent 85-foot tall edifice was laid in 1939. It was dedicated on June 17, 1940 when Nancy Brown addressed a crowd of her readers for the first time.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 5/24/2015 1:29:52 PM
Waymark Code: WMNYGH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 4

Long Description:
Clarence E. Day designed the carillon beginning, apparently in 1936. He was the brother in law of James E. Scripps, the publisher of the Detroit Evening News. In 1937, Clarence Day joined with Alvin Harley and Harold Ellington to form the Harley, Ellington and Day architectural firm. Among their most impressive commissions are the University of Michigan’s Rackham Building in the Cultural Center, the Coleman Young Municipal Center at the corner of Woodward and Jefferson and the Veterans Memorial Building at
151 West Jefferson.

Born in Perry, Maine in either 1869 or 1870, Annie Louis Brown, attended secondary school in Massachusetts and then matriculated at Mount Holyoke College in 1888 and graduated four years later. She taught school in Vermont, Connecticut and in Mount Clemens, Michigan. In 1904 she married James Edward Leslie, the drama critic and Sunday editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch. He died just 13 years later. To support herself, she went to work as a reporter for the same paper. Two years later at the age of 49, she moved to Detroit to begin writing an advice column for Mr. Scripps’ Detroit Evening News. She used the nom de plume of Nancy Brown and entitled her column “Experience.” This was one of the nation’s first personal advice columns, and quickly Nancy Brown became a popular figure in Detroit. In addition to offering advice, she wrote about life and living in the Motor City during its period of most rapid growth.

Her fans grew in number. In 1934, she accepted the suggestion of a reader and organized a sunrise service on Belle Isle. This quickly became an annual event, drawing more than 30,000 each year. In 1936—in the midst of the Depression that devastated and impoverished Detroit—she suggested that her readers donate their nickels and dimes so that a Peace Carillon could be built on Belle Isle where the sunrise services were held annually. They did so, and the very attractive Neo-Gothic tower that you see is the result of their generosity.

In 1970, the bells of the majestic tower went quiet. Vandals — who knocked out stained-glass windows at the top of the tower — and pigeons destroyed the mechanism that played the songs. The city was facing a $22.5 million deficit at the time and while it was “such a pleasure to so many people,” John May, then-general superintendent of Detroit’s Department of Parks and Recreation told the Detroit News at the time, “we haven’t got the money to repair it.” Later on, the city found the money and restored the carillon, replacing its original musical machinery with a modern system.

Today, the carillon still chimes, but the cash-strapped city has been unable to keep up the grounds around the tower. The plant life is overgrown. Its moat is filled with trash and algae. Thieves stole one of the bas reliefs from the southern side of the tower. But the carillon plays on, even if the throngs of Canada geese are the only ones around to hear it.
Location:
Belle Isle
Detroit, MI USA
48207


Who controls the carillon?: City of Detroit

Number of bells: 49

Year of construction: 6/17/1940

Structure: Free standing

Location web page: [Web Link]

Schedule of regular public performances: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
An original photograph of the carillon is required. One of you and your crew doing your very best imitation of Quasimodo and/or Esmeralda will be most appreciated.
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