Wednesday, April 11, 2012

☞ REMEMBER: The Bell Tower of Mt. Morris Park

A photo from 1920 shows an intact bell tower on top of the hill of today's Marcus Garvey Park. Children and adults enjoy a warm day at the open terrace on one of the highest elevations uptown.  We took the lower two photos this week and one can see that the bell tower's condition is less than perfect nowadays and the area has been gated.

Although an official city landmark, the 1850's watch tower on top of the green space which was originally called Mt. Morris Park has seen its share of neglect. As the only remains of three original cast iron watchtowers in the city that used to signal firemen all across manhattan into action, one would think the Parks Department would maintain it a little better. Comparing the middle and lower photos, it is apparent that the base of the original top rail is missing and that the original tower had glass windows, chamber walls and a floor. The 10,000 pound bell is still in perfect condition and was used up until the early 1900's to ring in the hour once standard fire alarm boxes started to make its original use obsolete.

Postcard courtesy of the digital collection at The Museum of the City of New York


  1. The entire hardscape on the upper level of the park is in a total state of disrepair.

  2. Should bring back the hourly bell ringing, maybe some solar powered mechanical device could strike the bell on the hour. Seems a waste to have this magnificent bell silent. Maybe a project for the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association.