3 things to know about the Deeds Carillon on this milestone day

One of Dayton and the region’s most recognizable landmarks is celebrating a milestone.

A towering musical instrument housing 57 bells, Deeds Carillon marks the entrance to Carillon Historical Park. Old growth sycamores, 19th century buildings, and groundbreaking artifacts occupy the scenery. The surrounding terrain was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the famed landscape architects responsible for the grounds at Central Park, the Biltmore Estate, and the United States Capitol.

Seventy-five years ago, out amongst this setting, Deeds Carillon was officially dedicated on August 23, 1942.

Here are 3 things to know about the famous Carillon and how it went from dream to reality.

>> Facts about Ohio’s largest Carillon right here in Dayton

1. Mrs. Deeds wanted to share love for Carillon bells with Dayton.

While traveling in Bruges, Belgium, in the 1930s, Edith Walton Deeds was drawn to the enchanting sound of Carillon bells. She dreamed of sharing this music with the city of Dayton.

Edith, an accomplished musician, was the wife of famed industrialist and Carillon Park Founder Col. Edward A. Deeds. Born in nearby Spring Valley, Ohio, Edith’s father, Samuel Walton, encouraged his daughter’s love for music, enrolling her in piano lessons at an early age. Edith carried her love for music throughout her life; it was a love that was eventually immortalized by the construction of Deeds Carillon.

2. Famous architects created design of the Deeds Carillon.

Designed by Reinhard & Hofmeister of New York — the architectural firm responsible for Rockefeller Center in New York City — Deeds Carillon towers 151-feet in the air. It includes 57 bells, and is Ohio’s largest Carillon. And while arranging bells to form a carillon — a musical instrument that has at least 23 tuned bells and ranges at least two octaves — dates back to the Middle Ages, at the time Deeds Carillon was dedicated, it was one of only six free standing Carillons in the entire nation.

>> Why carillonneurs from all over the map were here in Dayton recently

3. The Carillon is part of beloved traditions.

In fair weather and foul, Deeds Carillon has provided a magnificent soundtrack for the Gem City. It is also the backdrop for an annual sunrise Easter service, plus festivals and special events. In recent years, a new generation of Daytonians has come to recognize the bell tower transformed into the Carillon Tree of Light, illuminated with over 20,000 glowing bulbs during the Yuletide season, the centerpiece of a new holiday celebration: A Carillon Christmas.

Fittingly, Edith Walton Deeds had the Deeds Carillon entrance door inscribed with the timeless lines from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Christmas Bells. And while the poem’s title pays homage to the Christmas season, Longfellow’s words provide inspiration throughout the entire year. Day in and day out:

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearthstones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said:

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor does He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, goodwill to men”

>> Did you know the craziest playground slide in Dayton is at Carillon?

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