How to order a copy of Ring Out Rose City
Make your check for $20 payable to the Norwich Historical Society, and write the words, “Bell CD”, on the memo line.
Friends of the Norwich Bells
Norwich, CT. 06360
Where can I purchase the CD in person?
You can visit the Slater Museum on the Norwich Free Academy campus. You'll find a link to the museum in our, "Learn More", section at the top of this page.
Visit the Leffingwell House Museum on Washington Street. You'll find a link to the museum in the, "Learn More", section of this page.
You can purchase a CD at the Otis Library in downtown Norwich.
Pick up a CD at Lazizah Bake Shop, 125 Yantic Road in the village of Yantic.
Visit Love Me Two Times at 15 Merchants Ave. in Taftville.
Stop in at the Norwich Art Center, at 62 Broadway.
Check back later for more locations.
Here’s What You’ll Hear
1. City Hall Clock Tower Bell – Manufactured around 1873 by Jones & Co. of Troy, New York, and recorded from the top of the cliff behind Central Baptist Church. The bell is rung by means of a mechanical striker which is controlled by the clock.
2. St. Patrick Cathedral electronic carillon, possibly manufactured in Germany, and recorded from the small park across the street.
3. St. Patrick Cathedral bell, 110 years old, this is a two thousand pound Meneely bell. We recorded it tolling from the small park across the street.
4. Fount of Salvation Missionary Church bell, manufactured in Spain. This was one of a hundred bells brought to the U.S. as ballast for a merchant ship in the 1830s. It had been dislodged from it’s tower in a Spanish monastery as had many bells during a civil uprising. A bell of like origin also hangs at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in East Haddam, CT. and another is situated in western New York State. We recorded this bell from the lawn in front of the church.
5. St. Joseph Parish on Cliff Street in Norwich carillon, manufactured by the Verdin Co. around 1980, and recorded from the parking lot next to the church.
6. Central Fire station bell, of uncertain make around 1850, and recorded from the firehouse parking lot.
7. Front doorbell on Broadway, believed to be manufactured by Bevin Brothers around 1860. This is the original doorbell for the home, and was recorded from inside the residence.
8. Side doorbell on Broadway… see entry above.
9. German river boat bell, of uncertain make. Markings on the bell cannot be clearly deciphered. It was purchased by a Norwich resident from a shop in Germany, and recorded from inside the owner’s home.
10. Park Congregational Church bell, manufactured by the Meneely Company around 1870. This is one of ten tuned bells in the church tower that can be either manually rung with ropes, by use of a clavier, or controlled by a Verdin electronic carillon. The recording was made from in front of the church.
11. Falls Mill bell, manufactured by the Meneely Co. around 1850. This bell is over one thousand pounds and currently resides in the boiler room for the apartment complex. It was recorded through an open window with microphones about twenty feet below the window.
12. John Mason School bell, of uncertain origin. It is believed this bell may have come from a Manchester Locomotive involved in an accident north of Norwich in 1888, just before the school was built. We recorded the bell from the third floor of the building.
13. Leffingwell Museum hand bell ringing… recorded on a windy October day in 2010. At the museum’s Fall open house, local residents ring small bells by the roadside to welcome visitors.
14. First Congregational Church bell, manufactured by Holbrook in the early 1820s, this is possibly the oldest bell in Norwich. The recording was made at midnight from behind the church.
15. Sacred Heart Parish of Norwichtown, this Meneely bell served the nearby Sturtevant Mill until the 1960s and is controlled by the clock. Our recording was made from the church parking lot behind the building.
16. Navy and Marine Living History bell, is a replica ship’s bell of unknown make, and can be seen at many events sponsored by the Norwich Historical Society. We recorded it at a Civil War encampment on the Norwichtown Green that marked the casting of the Norwich Freedom Bell, June 14, 2012.
17. Salvation Army bell, like all the organization's bells, it was manufactured by Bevin Brothers. We recorded it outside the Norwich Stop & Shop.
18. Yantic Volunteer Fire Department village bell, manufactured in 1852 by the Hooper Co., this bell originally served atop the Yantic Woolen Co. mill. It served to call mill workers to shift, announce fire alarms, and summon worshippers to the nearby Grace Episcopal Church. The bell is mounted in front of the firehouse and was recorded from about fifty feet away.
19. Yantic Volunteer Fire Department antique hose tender bell, still sits on the side of the 19th century vehicle which was hauled by hand to fire scenes. We recorded it in the bay of the firehouse.
20. Grace Episcopal Church bells, one of only two towers in Connecticut where change ringing is still practiced. The four Meneely bells were donated by parishioners in the early 1920s. We recorded them from the church’s driveway.
21. Lazizah Bakery bell, a small, decorative bell that bares the image of a unicorn.
22. Sacred Heart Parish of Taftville… little is known about this beautiful instrument which rings the Angeles at noon and 3 PM each day. The bell may date back to the first of three churches constructed around 1870. Our recording was made from the hillside next to the church.
23. Taftville Congregational Church bell, a Meneely, dates back to 1905 when the church was constructed. We recorded it from the parish parking lot.
24. Ponemah Mill bell, one of the largest bells manufactured by the Fuller Co. of Providence, R.I. around 1871. The huge belfry is bricked in so we recorded the bell from the old mill’s fifth floor. (Thanks to Onekey of New Jersey for allowing us access.)
25. Trolley Car 1386, (Black Maria), dates back to 1895, and served as a freight car for the Ponemah mills until the 1960s. It was recorded at the Connecticut Trolley Museum.
26. Trolley Car 65, a foot gong, was heard throughout Norwich when trolleys were a staple of public transportation in the city. It was recorded at the Connecticut Trolley Museum.
27. Taftville Volunteer Fire Department Last Alarm Bell, originally served on a fire truck, is now rung to honor fire fighters who have died. We recorded it inside the firehouse.
28. Wequonnoc School bell, of unknown manufacture… the bell is rung throughout the halls of the school by pupils with perfect attendance on the last day of the school year. The tradition goes back longer than anyone can remember. The recording took place in June of 2010.
29. St. Joseph Parish of Occum… little is known about this small bell which only bares the name of the family who donated it. It was recorded from the lawn behind the church.
30. Old Occum School bell, cirqua 1910, manufactured by Meneely, is housed at the Occum firehouse. It was recorded from the driveway about fifteen feet away.
31. Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Church… a cupola of ten small tuned bells of various origins, including some from Greece, Russia and the U.S. and rung by hand. These were recorded from the lawn at a distance of about thirty feet.
32.Greeneville Congregational Church little bells… The original bell tower blew down in the hurricane of 1938, destroying the bell. Peaces of the bell were saved and later used to make small hand bells which were sold as a fund raiser for the church. These were rung by parishioners and recorded during a worship service in the church sanctuary.
33. Gospel Foundation of New England bell… the origin of this small, unmarked bell is unknown, but may date back to the late 19th century. The recording was made from the cemetery behind the church.
34. St. Nicholas Orthodox Church bell, of an unusual shape, made of steel and manufactured in Russia, the bell, now rusted, dates back to the early 20th century. It was recorded from the lawn in front of the church.
35. St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Sanctus Bells, small sleigh bell appearing instruments are part of the thurible used by the priest to burn incense during worship. We recorded these in the sanctuary of the church.
36. Greeneville Fire Bell… Now housed in the fire house, this Mcshane bell, weighing just under a thousand pounds, originally resided in a special tower at Prospect Street and 8th Avenue and alerted the town to fire. The city paid $200 for the bell in 1881. It was moved to the firehouse in the 1920s. Our recording was made from the bottom of the hose tower adjacent to the firehouse bays.
37. Providence & Worcester Railroad bells, at the 8th Avenue crossing, and recorded from a distance of about fifteen feet.
38. Uncas Street wind chimes, recorded on the back porch of an apartment building.
39. West side wind chimes, recorded on the front porch of a condominium.
40. Big Y Customer Satisfaction bell, apparently made of steel, are rung by supermarket patrons to show delight in the level of service received, and recorded near the front door of the store.
41. Alan Bergren bell collection, a variety of small bells, recorded in the reception area of the city manager’s office.
42. Kate Clark’s bells, including a peculiar contraption that turns out to be a Bar Harbor bell, recorded in a friend’s apartment.
43. The bells of Lincoln Avenue… a variety of small bells including a Bevin Brothers gong and a tiny music box, recorded in a private residence.
44. The Bells of Norwich, a song by Norwich resident and First State Troubadour, Tom Callinan, Cracker Barrel Entertainment… generously donated for inclusion in our audio anthology, and recorded at and by Suite Audio in Clinton, CT.
45.The Norwich Freedom Bell… 250 pound bronze Verdin bell cast in Norwich in 2012. This is the first bell ever commissioned to honor the Emancipation Proclamation, the first bell ever cast in this city, the first bell manufactured in the state in nearly 200 years and the first bell cast in New England in a century. A replica of this bell is to be presented to President Obama in 2013. The recording was made by the Verdin Company.
Help the Bells Ring
Proceeds from sales of, Ring Out Rose City help repair and restore bells around the city. The first $2000 raised will go to refurbishing the bell at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Greeneville in time for the one hundredth birthdays of both the parish and the bell.
Recording an album of Norwich’s bells may well have been the cart leading the horse at first. But our small group soon realized, while making a beautiful CD of the things we like to ring most is important, the preservation and enjoyment of bell ringing comes in many tones. Nevertheless, Ring Out Rose City has captured the lion’s portion of our attention over the last three years.
We learned many things. Stereo recordings sound better if both mikes are turned on. Venders have a host of products to cut wind noise, but nothing works like good old fashion pillow batting. Unfortunately, when it gets dry it likes to fall apart, sending cute little fuzz balls scurrying down the street. And we learned that every bell has a story.
The equipment used for the field recordings was astonishingly simple. But budget constraints don’t seem to have hurt us. On most recordings, a twenty year old Sony stereo mike did wonders. A few tracks were recorded with two Shure cardioids mikes in an X/Y configuration, usually about eight feet apart. A Sony mini disk recorder was used on earlier tracks. Later, we discovered the convenience, fidelity, and rapid AGC attributes of the Olympus W32A, and sessions got easier.
We mastered the production at Studio 280 in Coventry, CT. Here, armed with the knowledge, expertise, and up-to-date software, Jim Harkins said he was truly impressed with the quality of our field work. But it was Jim’s expertise that put the album over the top, making it of a professional sound quality we could not have achieved otherwise.
We had wanted to get the CD out in time for the January 1, 2013 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, but financial considerations prevented this. Now, with the weather turning nice and Christians celebrating the Easter season, it’s finally here.
But what to do with all that money. Our board voted in March that proceeds from sales of the CD would go to help refurbish the city’s bells that are in need of attention. From the first three hundred units we plan to donate two thousand dollars toward the $4500 that St. Nicholas Church in Greeneville needs to fix it’s century old bell. After that, it’s up to the board. Many church bells around town need help, and when they ring, there’s no need to explain why that’s important.
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