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Lawrence County’s bicentennial bell to be cast by 2003

Lawrence County will ring in the future with Ohio’s 87 other counties by hosting a bicentennial "bellcasting" in years to come.

Thursday, November 01, 2001

Lawrence County will ring in the future with Ohio’s 87 other counties by hosting a bicentennial "bellcasting" in years to come.

The Ohio Bicentennial Commission will oversee the casting of one brass bell for each county as a lasting reminder of Ohio’s bicentennial in 2003.

Ohio Bicentennial Commission spokesperson Fred Startmann said Lawrence County’s bell will not be cast this year, and the commission has not set a schedule for 2002 or 2003.

"We will be doing a lot of planning and developing over the wintertime," Startmann said.

"In the meantime, if there is any community event that would be good to hold it in conjunction with, the commission would like to know about it for possible scheduling," he said.

The state commission encourages the public to submit ideas about when and where their county bell should be cast, he added.

No local plans have been made yet – although city and county leaders have been speaking with historians about choosing a site for both the local casting and where the bell should stay.

Washington County hosted the first bellcasting in early September because Marietta was the first organized settlement in Ohio, state officials said.

The third, and most recent bellcasting, was held in Tuscarawas County the weekend of Sept. 22.

When cast, each Bicentennial Bell will be about two feet high and weigh about 250 pounds. The name of the county will be inscribed on the bell, along with an Ohio Bicentennial logo and the seal of the State of Ohio.

The Verdin Co. of Cincinnati – world’s leading bell casting company and Ohio’s oldest manufacturing firm – will take charge of each casting.

Verdin has a special foundry on wheels it plans to bring to the cities.

Bronze ingots are added to the furnace, melted over several hours at temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees, poured into a mold, cooled overnight, then cleaned and polished.

The casting process will start early one day, with the bell to be released from its mold the next, when it will be presented to the county in a formal ceremony.

The Ohio Bicentennial Commission can be reached at 1-888-OHIO-200.