SCHEDULE OF TOWER VISITS FOR 2005-2006
Ernest Martin Hopkins, Dartmouth College President 1916-1945, Class of
1901, had visited Oxford and Cambridge and was much impressed with the bell-ringing
on those campuses. When Baker Library was constructed, a trustee, Clarence
B. Little, Class of 1881, donated $40,000 for a set of bells to be placed
in the tower of the library, in order to please President Hopkins.
Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York custom-built a 15-bell set. The
bells vary in size from 200 to 5,300 pounds. They range an octave and a
half on the scale, playing every note in that range, except E flat.
The bells first rang in 1928. They were rung manually for the first year.
The following year, William Durrschmidt, an instrument maker and Professor
of Music, invented an automation system from three machines and a clock.
It was similar to the mechanism of a player piano, where holes are punched
into a roll of paper and the locations of the holes triggered the bell mechanism.
There was also a keyboard in the tower, so people could play "instantaneous
music" on the bells.
In 1979, the bells were computerized. Two students designed a system to
run the bells, as the system and the paper rolls used for the first 50 years
were starting to wear out.
A 16th bell was donated in 1981 in memory of Donal F. Morse '51. Money
was also provided for the maintenance of the system and pay for the bell
The bells currently run via wireless access. An iMac computer in the tower
runs custom-designed software that a graduate student in electro-acoustic
Bells ring the time on the hour and half hour. Songs are played three times
a day - the alma mater at 6pm, and varying pieces during intervals between
classes. Songs can be requested by blitzing "Bells". Requests
aren't guaranteed, but are most welcome. If you are requesting a song that
is already in the song database, it takes a day or two to program it. Songs
can be scheduled for any time except on the hour.
Some current favorites:
Barbie Girl, My Old Kentucky Home, Pomp and Circumstance, Tired of Being
Alone, Happy Birthday, Hey Jude, Hi Ho Hi Ho, In Your Eyes, Indiana Jones
Theme, Jeopardy Theme, Lean on Me, Lullabye, Maria, Smurfs, Stand by Me,
Yellow Submarine, You are My Sunshine, Bright Sunshiney Day, Feeling Groovy
Dartmouth College is one of the last few places that still uses real bells
instead of recordings or synthesizers. Bells are turned each year so that
the hammers don't wear out the same spot on each bell, and we can be guaranteed
the enjoyment of these real bells for years to come.
Early architectural sketches of Baker Library included a weathervane. President
Hopkins decided that the weathervane would feature a Dartmouth theme.
The architect, Jens Fredrick Larson, was busy with the rest of the Baker
Library construction project, and so held a contest among his assistants
for a weathervane design. The prize was a Dunhill pipe, brought to Hanover
A Trustee, the College Librarian, and the Research Professor of Physiological
Optics were the jury entrusted to decide on the best design. Stanley Orcutt's
design, "Wheelock and an Indian under the Pine" was the winner
and is the weathervane topping Baker Library today.
The weathervane was built from copper by A.N. Merryman. It is 8'9"
long, 6'8" tall, weights 600 pounds, and stands 200 feet above campus.
The "keg" sitting behind Wheelock has been rumored to be a keg
of 500 gallons of New England rum, referred to in the first stanza of the
famous drinking song by Richard Hovey 1885:
Oh, E-le-a-zar Wheelock was a very pious man;
He went into the wilderness to teach the In-di-an
with a Gradus ad Parnassum, a Bible and a drum
And five hundred gallons of New England rum.
Some say it is a keg of rum, some say it is the pivot point for the weathervane.
THE GREEN LIGHTS
Every now and then, a green light shines from the tower on Baker Library.
The green comes from eight 500 watt floodlights with green shades that shine
on the glass windows in the bell tower.
This green light is often referred to as the "money light" because
it is lit on occasions that attract College alumni and trustees.
In October 1975, Jack Skewes, then Director of Business Affairs, wrote
a memo listing the events during which the "green lantern" would
be lit. The same events trigger the green lights today. The memo reads:
Green lantern lit in Baker Tower:
Convocation (when held in the evening)
Winter Carnival Weekend
Class Officers Weekend
Freshman Parents Night
Club Officers Weekend
Alumni Council Weekend
Fall House Parties
Schedule of Bell Tower Visits for 2006 - 2007
* Dates and times are subject to change, due to weather.
Family Orientation (2007)
Tuesday, September 18th, 10am - Noon
Saturday, October 19th , 10am-2pm
Sunday, October 20 th, Noon-4pm
Winter Carnival (2008)
Saturday, February 9th, Noon-4pm
Sunday, February 10th, Noon-4pm
First Year Family Weekend (2007)
Friday, April 27th , 3 - 6pm
Saturday, April 28th, Noon-4pm
Green Key Weekend (2007)
Friday, May 18, N00n - 4pm
Saturday, May 19, Noon - 4pm
Saturday, June 9th, Noon-4pm
Sunday, June 10th, 1-4pm
Wednesday, June 13, 2-4pm
Saturday, June 16, Noon-4pm
Second Year Family Weekend (2007)
Friday, July 27, Noon-4pm
Saturday, July 28th, Noon-4pm