Bells, sirens, chimes

Pam Richter – Class of 2011
August 13, 2010

Every day during the week sharply at 5 p.m. the chimes located in the cupola of Alamance building at Elon University ring and the campus echoes with these sounds. For many people today, the noise of the chimes drifts into the background and often goes unnoticed; however, the sounds previously were tied to different events on campus.

Picture of the cupola of Alamance building pre-1940s.

During World War II and the period shortly thereafter, sirens were installed and replaced the bells that signaled students to change classes. Duward T. Stokes writes in his book, Elon College: Its history and traditions, “When former students returned to the campus after completing their military stint, they found a number of changes in their alma mater. Students were no longer summoned to classes by the mellow tones of the old bell, but by the blatant wail of a siren, which had been installed to also serve for air-raid warnings in the area, had such occurred.”

The sirens were located in the cupola of Alamance. In 1978, Elon’s first campus chimes were installed and hung where the sirens were previously located. These chimes were a gift from the class of 1953. According to the Burlington Times-News, they struck on the hour and the “musical selections can be heard in most parts of the town.”

The current chimes that the Elon community is familiar with were installed in May of 2002. They chime on the quarter hour and the last playing occurs at 5 p.m.

Follow this link to learn more about the original bell on campus that was used to signal the changing of classes among other events.

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