The International Friendship Bell, located in the City’s A.K. Bissell Park,
has been closed in order to assess damage to the housing structure in which the bell is
displayed. A routine inspection by city staff late last year revealed cracking in the wooden
support columns. Temporary fencing has been placed around the structure; additional fencing
and signage will be installed this week in order to restrict direct access to the bell.

The structure housing the bell is a unique, open, timber-frame structure with six main timbers
measuring approximately 12” square supporting the entire frame. A preliminary inspection by a
local engineering firm has revealed significant wood rot and deterioration (see attached
photos) to the structure. In addition, a large crack has developed in the stone wall supporting
one of the columns at the south end of the bell structure.

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson is requesting the community’s cooperation as the
evaluation continues. “Regrettably, we need to prohibit access to the Friendship Bell in order to
protect the public, and to minimize any potential damage to the 8,000 pound bell. Police and
Fire employees have been notified of the situation to be observant of any activity around the

A detailed report is being developed by the local engineering firm. Report findings will help
determine cost estimates and schedule to repair, rebuild, or replace the structure.

The International Friendship Bell was cast more than twenty years ago under the sponsorship of
the “Committee of 50,” as part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Oak Ridge. It was
presented to the City by the Oak Ridge Community Foundation in 1996 as a lasting legacy “To
express for the future the profound longing and commitment to work for freedom, well-being,
justice, and peace for all people of the world.”

Media contact: Candice Brogan, (865) 425-3546 or Visit the City’s website