Smith’s Bell and Clock Service gives Coxhall Gardens bells an upgrade


By Renee Larr

The two bell towers at Coxhall Gardens at the Ritz-Charles in Carmel are getting an upgrade courtesy of Smith’s Bell and Clock Service. The equipment in the towers has never been upgraded and is original to the installation of the towers. There are 47 bells in the towers and only 20 of them work.

The bells at Coxhall Gardens are being upgraded. (Submitted photo)

The bells at Coxhall Gardens are being upgraded. (Submitted photo)

“They lost control of the strikers to hit the bells. They were just getting too old. Over the years outside in the elements they got corroded and lost control,” said J.J. Smith, owner of Smith’s Bell and Clock Service. “When you only have 20 out of 47 bells working, you’re missing notes in the songs. It doesn’t sound too nice. We’re replacing them all with new, modern items.”

The project began about a month ago and will last until the end of September or mid-October. The new equipment will provide modern features for the bells.

“We have all the programming capabilities now with the new controller. We make our controllers to be able to be programmed here in our shop. It’s kind of neat that I can program a song in my shop in Camby and you can be up in Carmel and hear the song,” Smith said.

The towers play music several times a day for the enjoyment of the public. The bells range in size from 1,500 pounds to 12 pounds. Each striker is being built individually for the 47 bells. Also known as a carillon, the bells will have electric strikers instead of manual clappers.

“A carillon is just a really useful instrument to leave a legacy behind as a monument. That’s what the donors originally did that owned the farm around there. Those bells are made of bronze. They last hundreds of years, so it’s a good gift. Those bells are the finest money can buy,” Smith said.

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