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Rees Memorial Carillon, Springfield

Categories: Landmarks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.8/5 based on 30+ reviews on the web
The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is the gift of Senator Thomas Rees, publisher of the Illinois state register from 1881-1933. During World War I, Rees served on the International Board of Arbitration for newspapers and later for unions, providing him the opportunity to travel Europe and beyond. Rees attributes his great interest in bells to visiting carillons in Belgium and the Netherlands- though his initial interest was the result of reading articles in National Geographic, the Musical Quarterly, and Art & Archeology by William Gorham Rice.

Rees provided a bequest to build his instrument, leaving specific instructions in his will regarding number of bells and its location. Robert Stuart, Springfield Park District President (1959-1975), carefully implemented the Senator's vision by consulting and hiring the architects, designers and the bell foundry when the carillon was constructed in 1962. The quality of the instrument coupled with size and location in the century old Washington Park distinguishes Rees Carillon as one of the world's finest instruments.

The Rees Carillon boasts 67 cast bronze bells covering a range of 5 1/2 chromatic octaves. Total weight equals 82,753 lbs; the largest (bourdon) bell weighs 7 1/2 tons with the smallest weighing 22 lbs. The instrument was cast by the 300-year-old bell foundry of Petit & Fritsen, Ltd., in Aarle-Rixtel, Netherlands. All of the bells are played manually from a World Standard Keyboard installed in the year 2000.
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  • Beauty for the eyes and ears! The Park District hosts various events throughout the year. If you are able, do the tour! Park is very pet-friendly. 
  • I love the sound of the Carillon. It's great to sit on a park bench and listen to it. And if you get a chance to take the tour, please do! It's quite unusual, and they might even let you pound one of ...  read more »
  • We heard the carillon and went on the tour. It was expensive and cramped, but fun seeing the huge bells and looking out on Springfield and the Capitol. 
  • Amazing flowers and such a sense of community, locals of all ages coming out to enjoy the park and each other. Also lots of Pokey stops with lures. lol
  • Part of the Washington park area, these beautiful Festival bells are wonderful to listen to. When the bells are not ringing this section of the park is full of young and old people enjoying the gardens and playing Pokemon Go. A joy for all ages.
  • Awesome carrillon. 3rd largest in the world by total combined weight of bells. Offers occasional tours up but unfortunately you can't play the bells
  • The carillon festival every year has good music and some of the best fireworks in town.
  • Great place to feed the geese!
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