Oak Ridge recently unveiled designs for a new home for the city’s landmark International Friendship Bell. The 8,000-pound bronze Japanese-style bell, built to mark the 50th anniversary of World War II and installed in Bissell Park in 1996, symbolizes peace and reconciliation between the United States and Japan. The bell is a popular destination for both Oak Ridge residents and visitors. Unfortunately, the pavilion that originally housed the bell deteriorated and had to be torn down in 2014.
The new plan, developed in collaboration with architect Ziad Demian, creates a new, larger plaza and “Peace Pavilion” for the bell, along with a series of walkways and gardens. According to the campaign to restore the bell, the plaza will be a “site for gathering, thoughtful reflection, and observing the bronze work of art. The International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavilion will be among significant sites for tours by visitors coming to Oak Ridge to learn more of the city’s history.”
[Image: The late Oak Ridge city historian Bill Wilcox by the Friendship Bell. Courtesy of the Friends of the International Friendship Bell.]