Executive Board

Jan Throndson - Chair

Ron Stewart- Vice Chair

Dick Denny-Vice Chair

Gwen Stewart- Secretary

Sandra Sabin- Treasurer

Board Members:

Bonnie & Mike Adams & Dorothy Denny

The Bell of Honor Committee members volunteer their time.

The Bell of Honor is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are used to support our mission and are 100% tax deductible

History of the Bell

The Bell was forged, by the E. W. Vanduzen Co. of Cincinnati, OH, at the Buckeye Bell Foundry in 1910. It originally hung in St. Clement's Roman Catholic Church in Dunlap, IL. The church was built by German immigrants in 1910. Throughout the years, the church also served Lutheran and Baptist faiths. In 2004 the church was purchased by a family who renamed it the 'Little Church on the Prairie'. The bell was then purchased by Mr. T. Gray, owner of Grayboy Motor Sports in Peoria, IL.

The bell was purchased from Mr. Gray in October of 2010. The Bell of Honor Committee was formed in December of 2010.

The Bell of Honor was dedicated at Soldier's Field Veteran's Memorial, Rochester, MN, on May 30, 2011.


Bell Factory History

The Bell of Honor was manufactured by the Vanduzen Factory in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1910. The factory originated in Nottingham England in 1777, when Thomas Hedderly founded a bell factory. His son and grandson continued the business in Philadelphia for several years. George Hanks bought the business from Henry Hedderly and in turn George Coffin acquired the business from George Hanks.

George Coffin founded the Buckeye Bell Foundry in 1837 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The foundry created the most ornate bells ever made in the United States. During the Civil War, the foundry produced cannons to support the war effort.

Van Duzen was apprenticed to George Coffin and by 1865 he and his partner, Mr. Tift, bought the company from Mr. Coffin. Van Duzen changed the name from two words to one word, Vanduzen. The partners owned the company until 1894, when Vanduzen became the sole owner.

To improve the sound of the bell, Vanduzen changed the shape of the bell. Their bells had a unique mounting with a disc used to hold the bell to the yoke. The company had a warranty on bells weighing more than 120 pounds not to crack for 10 years from the date of sale.

This company has the distinction of having founded the largest bell ever cast in America and the largest bell mounted in a regular swinging church bell in the world. The exact weight of that bell was 27,390 pounds. With the mounting, the bell weighs about 35,000 pounds and hangs in the tower of St Francis de Salles Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati, OH.

The factory closed its doors in the early 1950's.