The above photo displays carillonneur Percival Price seated at the keyboard of the tower’s carillon. Containing 55 bells and weighing a total of 43 tons, the Burton Memorial Tower’s grand carillon is the fourth heaviest in the world. The grand carillon is named after alumnus Charles M. Baird, who served as U-M’s first athletic director.
In this photo, carillon mechanic Frank Mitchell poses among the bells of Burton Memorial Tower. An editorial in a 1919 issue of the Michigan Alumnus is the first recorded suggestion to add a bell tower on campus. The writer hoped that the addition would be, “set high in the center of the campus, to be at once a landmark and a thing of beauty.” At 212 feet tall, the tower was constructed in 1936 and named in memory of University President Marion Leroy Burton, who served U-M from 1920-25. The tower was designed by Albert Kahn, who also designed Clements Library, Angell Hall, and Hill Auditorium.
Recitals and special events will take place on campus this fall as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations. Be sure to stay tuned for additional information here.
Images courtesy of Bentley Historical Library. Source for captions: U-M History Web Portal