McFarland Carillon

Coordinates: 40°6.20′N 88°13.655′W / 40.10333°N 88.227583°W / 40.10333; -88.227583

McFarland Carillon
Alternative names McFarland Memorial Bell Tower
General information
Type Carillon bell tower
Location South Quad, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The McFarland Carillon, sometimes referred to as the McFarland Bell Tower or McFarland Memorial Bell Tower is a 185-foot bell tower located on the South Quad of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The tower was approved by the University's trustees in 2005 and built in 2008-2009. It was designed by Fred Guyton of Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets.[1] The carillon has 49 bells, which can be controlled by a computer with 500 pre-programmed songs, or can be played directly with a keyboard.

History and description

The carillon project began as an attempt to upgrade and renovate the University Chimes in the bell tower of Altgeld Hall, until it became clear that this would not be possible. A free-standing campanile tower had been considered as a possibility for the campus since 1913.[2] The funding for the project came from H. Richard McFarland, who had graduated from the College of Agriculture in 1952. After the death of his wife Sarah "Sally" McFarland, McFarland donated $1.5 million for the construction of the tower, which would be named in her honor.[3]

The tower's 49 bells were cast in the Netherlands and transported to the US. The total cost of the bells was estimated at $550,000.[2]

"Eye of Sauron" prank

In the early hours of Saturday, September 20, 2008, students hung a replica of the "Eye of Sauron" in the top half of the tower. The eye is from J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings and is a symbol of the principal antagonist.[4]



  1. Cornish, Sabryna and Forrest, Sharita. "Trustee discuss new hotel/restaurant" Inside Illinois (July 21, 2005)
  2. 1 2 "McFarland Bell Tower" on Explore CU
  3. Smith, Missy. "Local man funds bell tower construction" Daily Illini (September 3, 2008)
  4. Spector, Stephen (September 23, 2008). "No suspect in sight for Eye of Sauron prank". The Daily Illini.

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