Fact of the Week: the bell tower rings three times a day

The current bell tower rings three times a day compared to the original tower, which was used to play hymns in downtown Los Angeles.

Abbey Bennett, Writer

The Biola bell towers were once located on top of the original Biola building in LA. Now, the tower only boasts five bells but originally there were eleven. Biola has possession of the other bells, except for the one that was stolen from the La Mirada campus, fifteen years ago. | Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES

The large bells that once rung in the middle of Los Angeles have always had great purpose. In July of 1915, the Meneely bells were placed at Biola’s original downtown campus.

“The original Biola carillon consisted of 11 bells and they were used to play hymns in the old Hope Street location in downtown Los Angeles, from 1915 until 1958,” wrote Ken Bascom, senior director of Facilities Planning and Construction, in an email. “We decided to form a standard Westminster Chime with five bells, and hang them prominently in the center of campus.”

In 1986, a bell tower was made on the La Mirada campus. Nearly every student walks by this bell tower each day, between the Caf and the library, yet few understand its significance.

About 15 feet from the base of the tower, in front of Rosemead, is a plaque describing the details of the bells’ history. According to the plaque, the bells are set to ring daily at noon and 5 p.m., as well as each day at 9:25 a.m. to call students and faculty to chapel.

“The sound you hear at those times is the actual historic bells ringing with a new, electrically operated clapper,” Bascom wrote.

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