Posts Tagged ‘Route 66’

Arizona’s Liberty Bell

July 2, 2010

Just one of Arizona museums many memory trips in its celebration of its centennial as a state is its Liberty Bell. The 2,080-pound bell was one of fifty-three replica liberty bells cast by a French foundry in 1950. During that year, U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder presented them to each of the forty-eight contiguous states and five territories to promote a U.S. savings-bonds drive. As part of that program, the Arizona bell was paraded throughout the state from May 15 through July 4, 1950. Representatives from the Treasury Department’s Savings Bonds Division conferred with officials of the various States, Territories, and the District of Columbia to make arrangements for turning over the bells. The arrangements included plans for the organization of proper ceremonies to mark the occasion. The replica Liberty Bells are identical in size, weight, manufacturing process, legends and markings, and tonal quality, with the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Each bell with its mounting stands about six feet high is twelve feet in circumference around the lip, and seven and one-half feet around the crown. 

            Local Savings Bonds volunteer organizations in the various states arranged for receptions and tours for the bells. The donors of money and material for the Liberty Bells included the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Kennecott Copper Corporation, Phelps-Dodge Corporation, American Smelting & Refining Company, the American Metal Company, Ltd. and the Miami Copper Company. The Ford Motor Company supplied forty-nine red, white and blue trucks which took the bells on the tour of the states. The United States Steel Corporation’s American Bridge Company provided the standards, stays and hardware for mounting the bells on the trucks. Individual truck operators within the States paid the salaries of the drivers. Standard Oil Company of New Jersey contributed the oil and gasoline required by the trucks.

            Fifty-three bells were cast for the Bond Drive, however, it appears that three more were cast, according to the remarks that Secretary of the Treasury Snyder made at a luncheon in Independence on November 6, 1950 when the Bell was presented to Independence, Missouri. Snyder states that, in addition to the fifty-three bells made as part of the original project, he arranged to have the bell made that General Douglas MacArthur presented to Japan (#54), he presented another bell to the town of Annecy, France (#55) where the bells were cast, and he presented a bell from the people of Annecy to Independence, Missouri (#56). The bells were cast at the Sons of Georges Paccard Foundry in Annecy-le-Vieux, France, in 1950.  The bell that was given to Independence, Missouri by the people of Annecy was dedicated on November 6, 1950, and President Harry S Truman was present for the dedication. After the Truman Library was built (1957) the Bell was moved to the Truman Library grounds and rededicated in 1959. The inscription accompanying the Liberty Bell on the grounds of the Truman Library reads

DEDICATED TO YOU, A FREE CITIZEN IN A FREE LAND

           Arizona Capitol Museum, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, Tel: (602) 926-3620, Fax (602) 256-7985, Web Site: http://www.lib.az.us/museum/

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Powerhouse Route 66 Museum

June 17, 2010

U.S. Route 66 was also known as the Will Rogers Highway after the humorist, and the Main Street of America or the Mother Road was a road in the U.S. Highway System established on November 11, 1926. However, road signs did not go up until the following year. This famous highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California and ending at Los Angeles, encompassing a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both a hit song (written by Bobby Troup and performed by Depeche Mode, the Nat King Cole Trio and The Rolling Stones, and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s. Kingman’s Route 66 Museum shows that the evolution of Route 66 is the story of travel along the 35th Parallel. The museum’s brilliant murals, photos and life-size dioramas capture each of the groups that have traveled the route that has come to be known as the Mother Road. Stories recount the travels on Route 66, depicting the Great Depression, World War II and the early days of railroading, mining and ranching. The visitor will follow the Native American trade routes and the U. S. Army survey expeditions; travel along with the settlers on their migration west over the newly established wagon roads; and , feel the despair of the dust bowl refugees as they journeyed to what they hoped would be a better life. Visit Main Street America as the 1950’s usher in excitement for Route 66 travelers. This museum experience includes the presentation of a short film from its Route 66 library. The visitor is invited to spend time in the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona Reading Room and Resource Archive.

            The Route 66 Museum was part of the renovation of the old Powerhouse building. The Powerhouse was built and operated by the Desert Power & Light Company during the early 20th century. This facility was responsible for the electricity that lighted the way for the earliest Route 66 travelers.

Route 66 Museum, 120 West Andy Devine Ave., Kingman, Arizona 86401 Tel 928-753-9889  Web Site: http://www.mohavemuseum.org