Beginning the week of July 28th, the City of Oak Ridge will begin dismantling the International Friendship Bell House located in Bissell Park.

Earlier this spring, the City commissioned a structural evaluation of the bell house to determine the extent of suspected water damage to the supporting beams. The evaluation determined the majority of the structure, which was holding the 8,000 pound Friendship Bell, was beyond repair. The report recommended closing the International Friendship Bell House due to public safety concerns. A construction fence was erected around the structure to block access to the bell.

As a result of the structural evaluation, the City will dismantle the bell house and lower the bell to the existing concrete slab at the current location. “The City of Oak Ridge is now working with a number of interested citizens and the Recreation and Parks Board on a campaign to replace the structure with a new permanent building, ”according to Mark Watson, Oak Ridge City Manager.

Once the dismantling of bell house is complete, the Friendship Bell will be lower to the ground. The bell will once again be accessible to the public for viewing purposes but not for ringing until the bell house reconstruction is complete.

The work to dismantle the bell house should be completed within two weeks. 

Media contact: Candice Brogan at (865) 425-3546 or